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7 sweet facts about how chocolates are prepared

Chocolate has always found its way through people's hearts. Nicknamed the "food of the gods", it originated in Mexico, starting first with the Mayans.

With Valentine's Day just round the corner, experts have listed seven sweet facts about how chocolates are made.

Firstly, cocoa trees produce pods, which is the fruit chocolate comes from. Large harvests occur by hand twice annually throughout the year, Newswise reported.

Secondly, chocolate liquor is the thick paste generated when chocolate nibs, the roasted and de-shelled chocolate beans, are heated to a high temperature, it's then separated into cocoa butter and cocoa powder.

Thirdly, the FDA has established standards to identify different kinds of chocolate. Milk chocolate contains cream or other dairy products and sugar, but it must contain at least 10 percent chocolate liquor, dark, bittersweet or semisweet chocolate must contain at least 35 percent chocolate liquor.

White chocolate contains no chocolate liquor, but instead consists of cocoa butter, sugar, dairy products, and flavourings, it must contain at least 20 percent cocoa butter and no more than 55 percent sugar.

Fourthly, a machine known as an "electronic nose" evaluates the chocolate's aroma.

Fifthly, several tests are conducted on chocolate liquor to make sure it's fit for human consumption and check for qualities such as moisture content, fat content, free fatty acid content, particle size, viscosity, colour, and flavour.

Sixthly, roasting the cocoa beans is an important step in chocolate processing as it eliminates pathogens - particularly salmonella.

Lastly, there is not a one standard method of quality testing in the chocolate industry, companies around the world have their own ways of measuring chocolate quality and their own types of equipment.

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