Healthy Chocolate

HDL Absorbs LDL

by ConstantineOct 20, 2023

I asked ChatGPT: 
Is this statement true: "HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, sometimes called “good” cholesterol, absorbs LDL (I added the bold from CDC, since their explanation was lacking.) cholesterol in the blood and carries it back to the liver."?
ChatGPT answer: Yes, that statement is true. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is often referred to as "good" cholesterol because it plays a role in absorbing LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol from the bloodstream and carrying it back to the liver for processing and removal from the body. This process helps reduce the buildup of LDL cholesterol in the arteries and is considered beneficial for heart health.

Crucially, the  question posed on CDC:

"What are LDL and HDL cholesterol? 

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, sometimes called “good” cholesterol, absorbs [here's where they left out "LDL"] cholesterol in the blood and carries it back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Why would they do this? Sow confusion. Leave it to the doctor.


Dietary Cocoa Powder Improves Hyperlipidemia and Reduces Atherosclerosis...

by ConstantineOct 19, 2023

Hyperlipidemia means your blood has too many lipids (or fats), such as cholesterol and triglycerides. 

From the National Institute of Health: The aim of our study was to investigate whether the intake of cocoa powder has any influence on hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis and examine the underlying molecular mechanisms.

The groups fed dietary cocoa powder showed a significant reduction in both plasma cholesterol levels and aortic atherosclerosis compared to the control group. 

 These data suggest that cocoa powder intake improves hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis, and such beneficial effects are possibly mediated through the suppression of hepatic endoplasmic reticulum stress.

 In addition, treatment with cocoa phenolic extracts protected pancreatic beta cells against oxidative stress [8]. Cocoa powder has been shown to have other beneficial effects on immune disease [9], cancers [10], oxidative injuries [11], inflammatory conditions [1214], hyperglycemia [15], and insulin resistance [16].
Based on these findings, we envisioned that cocoa powder may have effects on hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis.

Conclusion: Imagine if the cocoa powder included the prior extracted cocoa butter? The missing ingredient is most beneficial to humans, giving the feeling of satiation.

Diabetes and Chocolate
Diabetic Heart-healthy Diet

by Constantinenov 28, 2022

Simulated steam of hot chocolate Chocolate that is good for diabetics is simply chocolate with suitable sugar. We found Sucanat (a sugar cane natural, Wholesome Brand) satisfies the requirement while not messing with your body's mg/dL or pH level. The all-encompassing statement: a spike in the blood sugar after two hours sends chills through your spine. However, by educating yourself on slow and fast sugar, be better equipped to evaluate what I am talking about when it comes to eating or drinking healthy chocolate. The Glycemic Index GI of our sugar is 43, so it will not spike your blood sugar; it's a slow sugar because it contains fiber.
Therefore, both prerequisites: GI 43 and sugarcane (Sucanat pictured), are used in our chocolate.
There are two ingredients in a plain chocolate bar: the cocoa and the sugar, expressed as a percentage of the cocoa quantity. For example, all our chocolate is 75%. So the remaining part is the sugar 25% to equal 100%.

The problem with using different sugars is that the volume equivalent and GI changes fluctuate. Therefore, the suitable sugar must have a glycemic index of less than 50, the threshold for not spiking the blood sugar.
This chocolate is for health as the outcome. As a bonus, consuming this sugar instructs your brain to be, acquainted with natural, unrefined sweetness levels.
Our prescription is to consume one square after meals for several reasons: it settles your stomach with what it needs: bitters and a feeling of fullness as a bonus.
Generally, when you experience acid reflux or other gastro issues, you may consume a 1/2" square of this chocolate to remedy it.
Take an informed approach to your health by purchasing these unique chocolate bars.
Melt with hot water to your desired strength.

The reason why your stomach hurts when eating chocolate

"Food and medicine are not two different things; they are the front and back of one body"  - Masanobu Fukuoka

by ConstantineDec 10, 2022

yinyang graphic symbolGut microbes interact with your brain.
The gut-brain-microbiota axis consists of a bilateral communication system that enables gut microbes to interact with the brain and the latter with the gut. Gut bacteria influence behavior, and depression and anxiety symptoms are directly associated with alterations in the microbiota. 
What better gut-brain-microbiota formulation exists: our chocolate is manufactured to sooth your stomach with no side effects. 

Common digestive disorders include gastroesophageal reflux disease, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, and hiatal hernia. The most common symptoms of digestive disorders include bleeding, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, pain, nausea, and vomiting.
I heard the saying: "you are what you eat." You'll be at the mercy of the Medical Industrial Complex when you ignore what you eat. They'll have an array of salves, including surgery to 'cure you' of self-induced eating habits. Two fundamental principles of gut health are bitterness and fiber. Unfortunately, both are lacking in your diet, which results in a delicate stomach. For example, 99.94% of chocolate is made with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) today. 

Yin and Yang
Two opposing and yet mutually complementary energies in the body interact to maintain a balance in your stomach that is fundamental to good health.
At the extreme Yin end of the spectrum are alcohol, sweets, and oils. Too much of these will cause an imbalance in our bodies. We may become oversensitive to the cold and irritable on the other extreme. Yang foods are warming, like root vegetables, onions, and spices, simmered like in stews or casseroles. When we eat a balanced diet consisting of more balanced foods, we can avoid suffering from all types of stomach issues.

The Basics
As food passes through the GI tract (PDF), it mixes with digestive juices, causing large molecules of food to break down into smaller molecules. The body then absorbs these smaller molecules through the walls of the small intestine into the bloodstream, which delivers them to the rest of the body.

Peptic Ulcers
The most common causes of peptic ulcers are infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve). 
Stress and spicy foods do not cause peptic ulcers.

Does chocolate aggravate Helicobacter pylori?
The study found that cocoa prevented the settlement of Helicobacter pylori in the stomach. It also inhibited the growth of Helicobacter pylori in the gut at the in vitro and in vivo levels. Its active components were shown to be the unsaturated fatty acids oleic and linoleic acid. 
And what contains these acids? The cocoa butter in the chocolate. 

The cure for stomach health 
Chocolate. But not any chocolate. We make our chocolate with a focus on gut health. The only way you can achieve this is by using excellent sugar (Sucanat).

Our chocolate is the purest that is humanly possible with no soy, vanilla, or silk. A clean finish and no side effects disappoint the wary chocolate connoisseur.

The reason your chocolate hurts your stomach is that you are consuming candy chocolates. Junk food. 

Update Sep 4, 2023:
The Gut-brain axis (GBA) consists of bidirectional communication between the central and the enteric nervous system, linking emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions. How does purposely made, shell-free healthy chocolate impact the Gut/brain axis and the microbiota?

Purposely made, shell-free healthy chocolate can have several potential impacts on the gut-brain axis and the microbiota, although it's essential to note that individual responses may vary. Here are some ways in which such chocolate may influence these aspects:

Prebiotic Effects: High-quality, shell-free chocolate with a high cocoa content often contains prebiotic compounds, such as soluble fiber. These compounds can serve as food for beneficial gut bacteria, promoting their growth and activity. A healthier microbiota can contribute to a more balanced gut-brain axis.

Mood Enhancement: Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, contains compounds like phenylethylamine and serotonin precursors that can positively affect mood and emotions. This could indirectly influence the gut-brain axis by improving mental well-being.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Some components of chocolate, such as flavonoids and polyphenols, have anti-inflammatory properties. Reducing inflammation in the gut can help maintain a healthier microbiota and potentially benefit the gut-brain axis.

Stress Reduction: Chocolate can have a calming effect on some individuals due to its ability to stimulate the release of endorphins. Lower stress levels can positively impact the gut-brain axis, as chronic stress can disrupt gut health.

Neurotransmitter Regulation: Certain compounds in chocolate, such as theobromine and caffeine, can affect neurotransmitter activity. While this can have short-term effects on mood and alertness, it may indirectly influence the gut-brain connection.

Microbiota Diversity: Consuming shell-free chocolate with probiotic strains or other beneficial additives can potentially support a more diverse and balanced gut microbiota. A diverse microbiota is often associated with better overall health.

It's important to remember that the overall impact of chocolate on the gut-brain axis and microbiota can vary depending on factors like the specific ingredients, cocoa content, and individual dietary habits. Incorporating shell-free, healthy chocolate into a balanced diet can be part of a holistic approach to promoting gut and brain health. However, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist for personalized advice based on your specific health goals and needs.

Chocolate holds back the Growth of Breast Cancer Cells

by Constantineoct 25, 2022


A naturally occurring, cocoa-derived pentameric procyanidin (pentamer) was previously shown to cause G0/G1 cell cycle arrest in human breast cancer cells by an unknown molecular mechanism., ... we show that pentamer selectively inhibits the proliferation of human breast cancer cells...
The novel aspect of the study was the manner in which pentameric procyanidin exerted its effects, as it appeared to jointly deactivate several regulatory proteins. The main driver of the current medical interest in chocolate appears to be Mars Inc., which held a conference in Switzerland where researchers discussed how pharmaceutical products could be derived from cocoa sources.
What's all this mean? There's magic compound: pentamer, which has proteins that inhibit cancer cells from developing. 
Do you think 72 hours of grinding cocoa beans would allow pentamer to survive? No way. The over grinding process typical in chocolate making disintegrates the cocoa. 

Healthy Chocolate

by Constantine nov 29, 2019

closeup hand-shelled cocoa beans

We started as a houseware store, transitioning into chocolate making.  My partners' desire for genuine hot Chocolate — like back home in the Philippines — directly influenced our business decision. 

The powdered blends available in the US were not making her feel blissful. On the contrary, heart palpitations, sweating episodes, and an alarming high-sugar brew was simply unacceptable. 

We went to the peak in every step of the chocolate-making process to create a bar of truly unique Chocolate in a category of its own. 

We started by discarding the notion of a "proprietary process" and instead challenged chocolate makers to do the same: make healthy Chocolate.

Do you know what Chocolate tastes like when it's hand-shelled?

Have you tasted natural sugar in isolation from everything else? It's not sweet. It's three times less sweet than high fructose corn syrup!

Tasting notes of particular Chocolate are one part of the experience. There's more. The mental feeling part becomes evident when the nature of cocoa beans is respected. Instead, a cerebral feeling takes hold of your senses.

Our approach to Chocolate is health, as the Mayan people were passionate about, as documented in their hieroglyphics. The Aztecs called chocolate xocoatl ("bitter water") and added spices like chili and vanilla for flavoring before mixing it with water into a frothy beverage. ... Chocolate wasn't just a food, though; the beans were one of the primary forms of currency of the day.

Chocolate is healthy as long as you don't over-process the cocoa nibs. Today most chocolate manufacturers grind the cocoa for up to 3 days to achieve a smoothness of 20 microns. A size so small you need a microscope to see it.
Big Chocolates' goal is to remove the natural medicinal properties, which can have a sour, acidic, or bitter taste. 

Nothing good for your physiological health tastes sweet.

How Can Chocolate be Healthy

by Constantineoct 13, 2022

Chocolate content of 70% is the minimum to have a beneficial effect. However, the type of sugar can have a negative effect on your health and leads to Type 2 diabetes. Chocolate should be treated like a daily pill, from nature.

Chocolate was characterized as "food of the gods" when the Spaniards discovered it.  

The amount of hours cocoa beans are ground will determine the amount of nutrients surviving this perilous journey into a chocolate bar.
 Chocolate is an appetite suppressor.
 Physical and mental contentment is quick and euphoric. Think stomach.
 Solution to adrenal burnout (aches, fatigue, nervousness, can't sleep and digestive problems): eat a piece of chocolate.
 Instead of a coffee [140mg caffeine], try hot chocolate [20mg].
Contains vitamins and minerals including: manganese, fiber, iron, copper, selenium, phosphorus, and potassium.
 Flavinoids found in chocolate helps your arteries to relax, improves blood flow and prevents blood clots.
 Compounds in chocolate fight bad cholesterol, lowers risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
 Increases blood flow to the brain and triggers endorphins release.
 Helps prevent diabetes, people eating chocolate containing sugarcane natural once a day.
 Polyphenols [micro-nutrients] in chocolate reduced insulin resistance.
 Reduces stress, improves our mood by increasing serotonin and endorphins levels in our brain.
 Pregnant women eating chocolate during pregnancy give birth to more stress-free babies.
 Theo-bromine in chocolate strengthens tooth enamel.
 Chocolate is a probiotic food.
 Anti-inflammatory properties, loaded with antioxidants, boosts energy.
 Improves your mental ability, and your verbal fluency.
 A day-long appetite satisfier.
 Protects your skin from sun-induced activity.
 Chocolate is a preventive nutritional supplement.

Don't be Lured by Cheap Chocolate 

by ConstantineJune 27, 2023

Store window sign

Consumer Reports Lead and Cadmium in Chocolate Bars

by ConstantineMay 2, 2023

From Consumer Report: But lead seems to get into cacao after beans are harvested. The researchers found that the metal was typically on the outer shell of the cocoa bean, not in the bean itself. Moreover, lead levels were low soon after beans were picked and removed from pods but increased as beans dried in the sun for days. During that time, lead-filled dust and dirt accumulated on the beans. “We collected beans on the ground that were heavily loaded with lead on the outer shell,” DiBartolomeis says. 

"After the fermentation process, cacao shells contain tannins only. Based on toxicity test using [Brine Shrimp Lethality Test (BSLT) ] Artemia salina L., there is a changing toxicity of cacao shells from its LC50 value. Fresh cacao shells LC50 value is 57.38 ppm, after fermentation is 127.54 ppm and after drying is 220.15 ppm. The toxicity of fresh cacao shells, after fermentation, and after drying are less than 1000 ppm which indicates that cacao shells contain toxic substance.
Dried cacao shell contains phytochemical compounds such as alkaloids, tannins and flavonoids, but after being fermented its only contains tannins."
All Mass-produced chocolates are Permitted by FDA to have 
Up To 1 % Shell Casing, Insect Parts, and Rodent Hairs!
With the Exception of Indigenous makers And Ridgewood Chocolate

 No Lead 
No Cadmium
No Molded beans
No Insect Parts 
No Rodent Hairs
No Adulteration 
No Removal of valuable ingredient 
No Addictive Sugar 
No Soy Lecithin
No Dirt

ChatGPT: the collected truth

What is the percentage distribution of tannins in cocoa shells vs cocoa nibs?

Tannins are typically present in higher concentrations in cocoa shells compared to cocoa nibs. The exact percentage distribution may vary depending on factors such as cocoa variety, growing conditions, and processing methods, but in general, cocoa shells may contain around 10-15% tannins, while cocoa nibs may contain around 1-2% tannins.
Where would the lead be present: in the cocoa shells or cocoa nibs?

Lead can be present in both cocoa shells and cocoa nibs, as it may come from the environment where the cocoa was grown or during the processing and transportation of cocoa beans. However, studies have shown that lead tends to accumulate more in the shells than in the nibs. This is because the lead can be adsorbed by the pectin in the shells, which is a polysaccharide that binds heavy metals. Therefore, cocoa shells may contain higher levels of lead compared to cocoa nibs.

Where would the cadmium be present: in the cocoa shells or cocoa nibs?

Both cocoa shells and cocoa nibs can contain cadmium, but typically the concentration is higher in the cocoa shells compared to the nibs. Cadmium is a heavy metal that can be present in the soil where cocoa trees grow, and it can be absorbed by the roots and subsequently accumulate in different parts of the plant, including the beans and shells. Cocoa shells are particularly prone to accumulating heavy metals, as they have a larger surface area exposed to the soil compared to the beans. However, it is worth noting that the concentration of cadmium and other heavy metals in cocoa products is tightly regulated by international standards, and chocolate manufacturers are required to test their products to ensure compliance with these regulations.
Since the cocoa shell casing have higher concentration of lead and cadmium compared to cocoa nibs, we must conclude that chocolate made in the absence of cocoa shell casing must be purer. please confirm.

It is true that cocoa shells can contain higher concentrations of lead and cadmium compared to cocoa nibs, but it does not necessarily mean that chocolate made in the absence of cocoa shell casing is always purer. This is because lead and cadmium can also be present in other sources, such as soil and water used for irrigation, as well as during the processing and manufacturing of chocolate. Therefore, while removing the cocoa shell casing can help reduce the risk of lead and cadmium contamination, it is not a guarantee of purity in chocolate. Other factors, such as sourcing of cocoa beans, processing methods, and manufacturing practices, can also impact the purity of chocolate.

Expensively Made Chocolate

by Constantine  Nov 2, 2019

small and large cocoa beans

I always ask potential customers if they have ever tasted our chocolate before. If not, a free whiff awaits from the wine cooler (60 ) where our chocolate is displayed. You will know you have arrived to heavenly nirvana or not.

Can chocolate be made where every cocoa bean's content is extracted? Yes, it is. One must peel the beans by hand.

The trade-offs are many: expensive vs. cheap; small batch vs. large batch; textured vs. smooth; strong aroma vs. little aroma; a robust taste of chocolate vs. hints of blah, blah, blah; aftertaste: chocolate note vs. sweet; consumption: prudent vs. impulsive; physiological: medicinal vs. sugary treat. Balancing the healing effects of chocolate and the smooth, highly processed status quo is challenging to promote 'good chocolate' to the marketplace.

Please observes the difference in the size of the two beans in the picture. Imagine how an industrial shelling machine can discern, then successfully remove different-sized shells of the cocoa bean. It cannot. The solution for the industry is to have the same-sized cocoa beans fed into the shelling machine. 
In contrast, by hand, we shell from the smallest to the largest. Every bean from the cacao pod goes into our chocolate bar. A full spectrum of taste awaits; the medicinal effects of: 'the food of the gods, -- as nature intended, is the reward.
The next step is melangering/conching to smoothen out the beans. We do this process in six or seven hours, while the industry does it in 72 hours. Of course, they do hundreds or thousands of pounds in a batch. 

Chocolate Aromas and Taste Development

byConstantine   jan 2nd, 2020

What remains an ongoing, simmering battle in the chocolate industry: the roasting of the cocoa beans. So what's better: computerized roasters or hands-on roasting on an open fire? 
Machine vs. human. An ongoing question of which method is superior to the outcome.

Flavor formation and character in cocoa and chocolate.
Let's look at academic research on the science of roasting. 
Chocolate characters not only originate in flavor precursors present in cocoa beans but are generated during post-harvest treatments and transformed into desirable odor notes in the manufacturing processes. In addition, complex biochemical modifications of bean constituents are further altered by thermal reactions in roasting and conching and in alkalization [reducing acidity, which is good for ridding your body of free radicals*].
However, the extent to which the inherent bean constituents from the cocoa genotype, environmental factors, post-harvest treatment, and processing technologies influence chocolate flavor formation and relationships with final flavor quality has not been clear. (in other words: not settled science.)

Sensory properties of chocolate and their development
According to the NIH: "Sensory attributes of eating chocolate are determined by processing variables and inherent characteristics of the cocoa bean. Flavor precursors develop during fermentation and primarily interact at roasting temperatures. Complex browning reactions occur during roasting. Numerous heterocyclic flavor compounds produced then contribute to the characteristic chocolate flavor. The feel of chocolate in the mouth (mouth feel) and the unique properties of cocoa butter determine textural properties. Careful processing and selection of ingredients are necessary to produce desirable attributes.'

[When science and poor-quality cocoa beans meet, the outcome is not in the consumer's favor.]
"The different treatments were evaluated by chemical analysis (hydrolysis efficiency) and sensory analysis of the treated material compared to good-quality cocoa almonds [beans]. The results show that it is possible, through the use of microbial enzymes**, to generate the mixture of compounds that will release, after roasting, the characteristic chocolate flavor in poor-quality almonds [beans]."

* Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage. Oxidative stress occurs naturally and plays a role in the aging process.
** Microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast, and fungi and their enzymes are widely used in several food preparations to improve taste and texture. They offer substantial economic benefits to industries.

Chocolate taste and aromas in roasting play an integral part in the process of making chocolate products. However, reliance on a computer's program does not take into account: the age of the beans, moisture content, the humidity of the environment of the facility, outside temperature, and moisture.

The Talk of the Town May 13, 1972 Issue 
The Conching Rooms By John McPhee May 5, 1972
Pools and pools and pools of chocolate—fifty-thousand-pound, ninety-thousand-pound, Olympic-length pools of chocolate—in the conching rooms in the chocolate factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Big, aromatic rooms. Chocolate, far as the eye can see. Viscous, undulating, lukewarm chocolate, viscidized, undulated by the slurping friction of granite rollers rolling through the chocolate over crenellated granite beds at the bottoms of the pools. The chocolate moves. It stands up in brown creamy dunes. Chocolate eddies. Chocolate currents. Gulfs of chocolate. Chocolate deeps. Mares’ tails on the deeps. The world record for the fifty-yard free-style would be two hours and ten minutes. Slip a little spatula in there and see how it tastes. Waxy? Claggy? Gritty? Mild? Taste it soft. That is the way to get the flavor.

Conching—granite on granite, deep in the chocolate—ordinarily continues for seventy-two hours, but if Bill Wagner thinks the flavor is not right he will conch for hours extra, or even an extra day. Milky? Coarse? Astringent? Caramely? For forty-five years, Mr. Wagner has been tasting the chocolate. His taste buds magnified a hundred times would probably look like Hershey’s kisses. He is aging now, and is bent slightly forward—a slender man, with gray hair and some white hair. His eyeglasses have metal rims and dark plastic brows. He wears thin white socks and brown shoes, black trousers, a white shirt with the company’s name on it in modest letters.

Everyone wears a hat near the chocolate. Most are white paper caps. Wagner’s hat is dapper, white, visored: a chocolate-making supervisor’s linen hat. A man in a paper hat comes up and asks Wagner, “Are we still running tests on that kiss paste?” “Yes. You keep testing.”

Wagner began in cocoa, in 1924. The dust was too much for him. After a few weeks, he transferred to conching. He has been conching ever since, working out the taste and texture. Conching is the alchemy of the art, the transmutation of brown paste into liquid Hershey bars. Harsh? Smooth? Fine? Bland? There are viscosimeters and other scientific instruments to aid the pursuit of uniformity, but the ultimate instrument is Wagner. “You do it by feel, and by taste,” he says. “You taste for flavor and for fineness—whether it’s gritty. There’s one area of your tongue you’re more confident in than others. I use the front end of my tongue and the roof of my mouth.” He once ate some Nestlé’s; he can’t remember when. He lays some chocolate on the tip of his tongue and presses it upward.

The statement that sends ninety thousand pounds on its way to be eaten is always the same. Wagner’s buds blossom, and he says, “That’s Hershey’s. ”Milton Hershey’s native town was originally called Derry Church, and it was surrounded, as it still is, by rolling milkland. Hershey could not have been born in a better place, for milk is twenty per cent of milk chocolate. Bill Wagner grew up on a farm just south of Derry Church. “It was a rented farm. We didn’t own a farm until 1915. I lived on the farm through the Second World War. I now live in town.” Wagner’s father, just after 1900, had helped Milton Hershey excavate the limestone bedrock under Derry Church to establish the foundations of the chocolate plant.
Derry Church is Hershey now, and its main street, Chocolate Avenue, has street lamps shaped like Hershey’s kisses—tinfoil, tassel, and all. The heart of town is the corner of Chocolate and Cocoa. Other streets (Lagos, Accra, Para) are named for the places the beans come from: quotidian freight trains full of beans that are roasted and, in studied ratios, mixed together—base beans, flavor beans, African beans, American beans—and crushed by granite millstones arranged in cascading tiers, from which flow falls of dark cordovan liquor. This thick chocolate liquor is squeezed mechanically in huge cylindrical accordion compressors. Clear cocoa butter rains down out of the compressors. When the butter has drained off, the compressors open, and out fall dry brown discs the size of manhole covers. These discs are broken into powder. The powder is put into cans and sold. It is Hershey’s Cocoa—straight out of the jungle and off to the A. & P., pure as a driven freak, pure as the purest sunflower seed in a whole-earth boutique.
Concentrate fresh milk and make a paste with sugar. To two parts natural chocolate liquor add one part milk-and-sugar paste and one part pure cocoa butter. Conch for three days and three nights. That more or less is the recipe for a Hershey bar. (Baking chocolate consists of nothing but pure chocolate liquor allowed to stand and harden in molds. White chocolate is not really chocolate. It is made from milk, sugar, and cocoa butter, but without cocoa.)

In the conching rooms, big American flags hang from beams above tin chocolate. “Touch this,” Mr. Wagner says. The cast-iron walls that hold in the chocolate are a hundred and thirty degrees Fahrenheit. “We have no heat under this. It’s only created heat—created by the friction that the granite rollers produce.” “What if the rollers stop?“ The chocolate will freeze. ”When that happens, the result is a brown icecap, a chocolate-coated Nome. Sometimes fittings break or a worker forgets to shut off a valve and thousands of pounds of chocolate spill over, spread out, and solidify on the floor. Workers have to dig their way out, with adzes, crowbars, shovels, picks—chocolate Byrds, chocolate Amundsens.

“The trend today is people want to push buttons,” Wagner says. “They’ll try to find ways to shortcut. It’s a continual struggle to get people to do their share. There’s no shortcut to making Hershey’s. There have been times when I wished I’d stayed on the farm.” Every day, he works from six in the morning until four-thirty in the afternoon, so he can cover parts of all shifts. He walks (twelve minutes) from his home, on Para Avenue. “Para is a bean, I think. It’s a bean or a country, I’m not sure which. We have another street called Ceylon. That’s not a bean. It’s a country.” In the conching rooms Wagner can see subtleties of hue that escape the untrained eye; he can tell where the kiss paste is, and the semisweet, and the chocolate chips, and the bar milk chocolate. Kiss paste has to be a little more dense, so the kisses will sit up.

Wagner has grandchildren in Hershey, Colebrook, and Mechanicsburg. When he goes to see them, he slips them kisses. Within the connoisseurship, there are acknowledged superior chocolates, and, God knows, inferior ones, but undeniably there is no chocolate flavor quite like that of a Hershey bar. No one in Hershey can, or will, say exactly why. There is voodoo in the blending of beans, and even more voodoo in the making of the milk-and-sugar paste. There is magic in Bill Wagner when he decides that a batch is done.

All this, however, does not seem to add up to a satisfactory explanation of the uniqueness of the product. Mystery lingers on. Notice, though, in the conching rooms, what is happening to the granite rollers rolling under the chocolate on the granite beds. Slowly, geologically, the granite is eroding. The granite beds last about thirty years. The granite rollers go somewhat sooner than that. Rolling back and forth, back and forth, they become flat on one side. Over the days, months, years, this wearing down of the granite is uniform, steady, consistent, a little at a time. There seems to be an ingredient that is not listed on the label. Infinitesimal granitic particles have nowhere to go but into the chocolate. A Hershey bar is part granite. Ask management where the granite comes from. The official answer is “New England.” “Where in New England?” “New England. That is all we are saying. Nestlé’s won’t say anything about anything. Mars is the same way. So we don’t say anything, either.”

Published in the print edition of the May 13, 1972, issue.