February 5, 2013
Cacao pods open to reveal a mucilaginous mass of cacao pulp juice, the cacao “beans” and the tissues that cover them. This mass of tissue is referred to as the pod’s placenta.
When making chocolate, the cacao placentas are removed from pods and heaped together. It is in these piles that the cacao fruit begins to transform into chocolate. During fermentation, chocolate flavor compounds and their precursors begin to form.
The structure of the cacao placenta completely erodes away by the end of fermentation. A wash leaves the cacao beans behind ready to be dried and roasted.
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