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Frederic Blondeel grew up in a coffee roasting family. Pairing chocolate with coffee has always been his family's daily ritual. At the age of 12, he received his first roasting machine for Christmas and since then, his passion in cocoa roasting blossomed!
Cocoa roasting is a very complicated process, which is why most chocolatiers choose to purchase roasted cocoa or pre-made chocolate couvetures to make their chocolate creations. One must be aware when adjusting the temperature of the roasting machine, the degree of ventilation, and the time of roasting. Since every batch of cocoa beans is different, even from the same origin and same supplier, there is no set formula to roast cocoa beans correctly. It's all skills developed through experiences and practices.
Frederic Blondeel's specialty is to roast cocoa beans to highlight the bean's unique flavor and combine it with different ingredients to create innovative chocolates made in traditional methods. When done correctly, good roasting procedures will highlight the intensity of Costa Rica beans, the scent of blackcurrant in Equador beans, the fruity flavors of red fruits in Madagascar beans. In fact, the manufacturing process of cocoa beans influences the quality of chocolate even more so than the percentage or origin of cocoa used. In other words, beans of different origins may become more expressive than a pure origin chocolate that has been processed poorly (Make sure to read our other blog post on "Bean-to-Bar Chocolate").