Mixing elements of chemistry with world culture and history, the Make Your Own Chocolate Kit contains everything you need to make decadent, dark chocolate, right at home.
Inside each Make Your Own Chocolate Kit, you’ll find organic, Fair Trade cocoa butter, organic, Fair Trade cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar, starter crystals, a temperature indicator, paper candy liners, instructions, a story about chocolate, and a few cacao beans to try.
Can be made on the stove or with a microwave – adult supervision is recommended! Great for class room activities, scout troops, birthday parties, home school, or after school. Makes a great gift for kids (ages 8 & up)!
First you melt the cocoa butter, then add the cocoa powder and sugar. Stir, stir, stir until it cools to the right temperature. Add the starter crystals so that the chocolate “tempers,” and enjoy your delicious, home-made chocolate!
Each Chocolate Kit makes 8 oz. of dark chocolate! That’s about 20 chocolates. Yum!
A fun activity for classrooms, scout troops, birthday parties, home schools, date nights, and more. A great gift for kids (ages 8 & up) and chocolate lovers of all ages! Adult supervision is recommended.
Want to See the Make Your Own Chocolate Kit in Action?
Watch our friends from the Lucky Penny Shop give it a try. This popular popular video shows the process from start to finish.
The Legend Of Chocolate
Chocolate comes from cacao beans which were originally found only in Central and South America.
Cacao was so special to the ancient Aztecs that they told this legend: Their god, Quetzalcoatl, brought the cacao tree from Paradise to earth, traveling on a beam of the Morning Star. He gave the tree as an offering to the people, and they learned how to roast and grind its beans into a paste. They added spices and mixed it with water calling it “xocolatl” or “bitterwater”. They believed that it brought wisdom and knowledge to those who drank it.
Today, cacao is an important part of agriculture in the tropics all around the world. The legend of chocolate lives on!
What Does the Chocolate Kit Have to Do with Our World? Lucía’s Story
Lucía lives in a hot and rainy part of Costa Rica. Her parents and neighbors grow their own food to eat, and they also grow some crops to make money. In the tropics, many crops are grown on large plantations with lots of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, which can hurt other plants and animals in the area.
But here, people are tending cacao trees organically, without any chemicals, so that they can keep their forest green and productive. A healthy forest has lots of different levels, which makes it possible for many different animals and plants to live together. Cacao has an important role to play because it is an understory tree, which means that it grows in the shade of taller trees.
Lucía helps to take care of the cacao trees and harvest the pods. She breaks open the pods, and puts the beans into big, burlap bags so that they can ferment for three days. Then, she spreads the beans out onto a cloth on the ground, and lets them dry in the hot sun for a week. When the beans are ready, she goes with her father to sell them. They get paid extra because they are growing organically.
Meanwhile, far across the ocean, the cacao is made into chocolate. When we buy candy bars, part of the money goes to pay for the shipping, part for processing, the candy wrappers, the advertising, the store owner, and lots of other stuff. Lucía’s family really gets only a small part of the price we pay for chocolate.
Chocolate as we know it has only become available in the last 100 years or so, even though cacao beans had been growing in Central and South America for a long time. When the Spanish explorers came to Mexico in the 1500s, they found the Aztecs drinking “xocolatl” (pronounced “ho-ko-la-tol”), made from cacao beans, water, and sometimes, spicy peppers. Montezuma, the last king of the Aztecs, was known to have drunk 50 pitchers a day! The Spanish brought it back to Europe, but since they found it too bitter, they added vanilla and sugar. They wouldn’t let anyone in Europe know how or where it grew, and guarded their secret for about 100 years, growing it on plantations in their colonies.
You have to remember that there weren’t a lot of different drinks available then, as there are now. So eventually, when other people did find out about it, drinking chocolate became a very fashionable thing to do. Fancy clubs just for drinking hot chocolate were opened.
It really didn’t taste that great, however, because cacao beans are about 50% fat. Chocolate became much better when, about 150 years ago, the Dutch chemist, Conrad Van Houten, invented the chocolate press. Then people could separate cocoa butter, the fatty part of cacao, from cocoa powder and, in turn, make hot chocolate and chocolate candy as we know it today.
Today, the huge demand for chocolate has turned cacao into an important cash crop worldwide. We hope, by including organic cacao in our Chocolate Kit, that we can help make it possible for both Lucía’s family and the forest to keep flourishing.