I bought a big bag of Cocao beans about 6 months ago. They are very hard to find in Australia and very expensive when you do.
Most chocolate makers bring the "cocoa nibs" in already roasted and processed as its far cheaper to do so overseas.
A mate and I played with roasting them (which is the easy part) and then the conching was done. WHAT A CHORE. Mortar and pestle for hours but the result was a very slightly gritty 90%+ dark chocolate.
We have designed our own conching machine and might get it built in the next month or so. It should take some of the labour out of the process and make it more fun.
We have about 5kg of beans left and will post the results up on CS at some time in the future.
Anyone tried roasting nuts?
I was thinking about giving hazelnuts, peanuts and cashews a go soon. Might be just the thing for the Chistmas table!