A conche is a machine that is used when manufacturing chocolate to mix and smooth chocolate mass. The first conche resembled sea shells, which is where the name is derived from. Modern conches are heated, covered vessels that contain long, multi-armed mixer shafts that press the chocolate against the vessel’s sides. Conching is a critical process because it plays a large role in determining the chocolate’s quality. Conching has two main goals: to improve the consistency and flavour of the chocolate. Conching is a decisive step in creating the typical taste of Belcolade chocolate.
After grinding, the chocolate mass becomes a dry flaky powder. The conche is filled with this powdery mass. As the temperature and energy inside the machine increase, the flaky powder starts to disintegrate and release its fat. This creates a pasty mass. Liberated fat covers the sugar particles which gradually improves the chocolate’s flow. The rotating mixing blades within the conche mix, knead, shear and spread the chocolate mass, forcing air through it. This ensures a perfectly even texture. Any remaining moisture and non desired aromas are evaporated during this stage. The desired flavour components are created through the close contact of the sugar, milk powder and cocoa mass.