Besides the equipment already described, the industry employs
a number of fascinating machines to do the work of shaping and
packaging chocolate into the familiar forms that we see every
day on store counters. Some of the shaping machines perform
at amazing speeds, squirting out jets of chocolate that solidify
into special shapes at a rate of several hundred a minute. Other
machines do a complete job of wrapping and packaging at speeds
that human hands would find impossible.
Separate from the chocolate industry but of interest nonetheless,
is the enrober-a machine employed by many candy manufactures
in the creation of assorted chocolates.
The enrober receives lines of assorted centers (nuts, nougats,
fruit or whatever desired filling) and showers them with a waterfall
of liquid chocolate. This generally covers and surrounds each
center with a blanket of chocolate.
Yet other confectionery machines create a hallow-molded shell
of chocolate which is then filled with a soft or liquid center
before the bottom is sealed with chocolate.
The mechanized nature of the entire chocolate-making process
contributes greatly to the industry's high standards of hygiene
and sanitation. To keep check on these standards, chocolate
factories constantly run quality tests, which show whether the
process is proceeding within the strict limitations designed
for each product.
These tests cover an amazing range-there are tests for the viscosity
of chocolate, for the cocoa butter content, for acidity, for
the fineness of a product and, of course, tests for purity and
taste of the desired finished product.
All chocolate manufacturers, it is important to note, must meet
the standards as set forth in the rules and regulations of The
Food and Drug Administration.
These govern manufacturing formulas, even to the extent of specifying
the minimum content of the chocolate liquor and milk used. They
also impose strict rules regarding the flavorings and other
ingredients that may be used.
Reasons for Secrecy
Where methods of manufacturing are concerned; however, manufacturers
have a completely free hand and have developed individual variations
from the "pattern." Each manufacturer seeks to protect his own
methods by conducting certain operations under an atmosphere
of secrecy. Modern technology, in this respect, is reminiscent
of the day of the Spanish monopoly.
Today's "secrets," unlike those of old, include many small but
important details which center around key manufacturing operations.
No chef guards his favorite recipes more zealously than the
chocolate manufacturer guards his formulas for blending beans
or the time intervals he gives to his conching.
Time intervals, temperatures and proportions of ingredients
are three critical factors that no company wants to divulge.