In a kitchen near Yoyogi park, the Minimal Chocolate team is re-engineering the concept of a chocolate bar. The problem: how to bring the chocolate consuming market closer to the cacao producing nations? The solution: design a bar that entices the consumer to want to know the chocolates’ origin and process.
It starts off with a bean in an equator region where the climate allows for such a rich bean to grow. From there the creative and the chef at Minimal import it to a stylish cafe in the Shibuya ward and turn the beans into tasty bars. The concept was born from taking chocolate to its simplest form, the cacao.
The Minimal team’s obsession with cacao beans aligns with there vision to connect the consumer market and producer culture closer together. The engineer behind the recipe is Masato Asahi. The team uses all natural ingredients and the flavours of cacao beans from South America, Africa and South East Asia to cook up a bar that can be genuinely recognised as the Japanese chocolate bar.
Minimal’s enthusiasm for cacao has lead them to spread their process and love for the bean through monthly workshops. The workshop leader takes participants through the 7 steps of how the bean becomes the bar.
Step 1: The Crop
The workshop leader gives a detailed explanation on the cultivation of cacao beans.
“Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.”
― Jo Brand
Step 2: Ferment & Dry
The workshop leader moves on to explain the drying process. Participants are engaged through trivia.
Will looked horrified. “What kind of monster could possibly hate chocolate?”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel
Step 3: Roast
Participants receive their beans right out the oven.
“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”
― Linda Grayson
Step 4: Brake and Winnow
As a group, participants break and winnow the outer skin of the cacao beans.
Step 5: Grind, Mix, and Conch
Participants are given a blender and kitchen tools to grind and mix the beans with natural sugars.
Step 6: Temper and Mold
Participants take turns shaping the chocolate mix into a bar shaped mold.
Step 7: Age
Normally the ageing process takes about a month, however, do to time the bars are placed in a refrigerator and then soon after given to each participant as a treat for their return home.
Bean to bar – food of the gods, designed for mortals.
Source: Design made in Japan