Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tincturing chocolate

Took advantage of the extra long weekend that we had last week, and decided to try my hand at tincturing some cocoa beans. The aim of course was to see if that rich, dark chocolate aroma that most of us know and love so much could be captured, and I must say I am quite pleased with the results so far. The beans I used came from Grenada, and were ground together in the form of their traditional cocoa balls.
I cleaned the beans and then pounded them into a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle, soaked them in undenatured alcohol, and shook vigourously throughout the day.

When tincturing leaves and flowers it can sometimes take weeks or more before they start to release their scent into the alcohol. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that in this case the cocoa beans released their scent almost immediately. Here is a picture of the cocoa tincture as it is coming along so far:
It smells rich, sweet and chocolaty and blends very nicely with the aroma of the sugar alcohol. I will be diluting it a bit more as I go along - as you can see it kind of looks like milk chocolate right now. With the right opportunity I will be using this tincture in a perfume, as I have longed dreamed about creating a gourmand-type perfume based around the aroma of chocolate.
Tincturing can be quite addictive, and opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Sometimes the tincturing experiments are not too successful (like the ones I tried with lemongrass). But always it allows you to feel even more appreciative and sensually connected to the natural plant materials around us.