REPORT: How Russia creates legendary candies and chocolates
2022-03-02 08:00

REPORT: How Russia creates legendary candies and chocolates

On the eve of the spring holidays, some of Russia's most iconic confectionary factories - Krasny Oktyabr and Babaevsky, popular not only in their own country, but also abroad - have devoted journalists to the details of legendary candy and milk chocolate production.

In the eight months of last year, Russia, according to the Confectionery Industry Association, surpassed Switzerland in the ranking of chocolate exporters, coming in tenth place.

Our Made in Russia correspondent took a press tour of the factories and learned how domestic confectioners achieve high quality of their favorite sweets, why Alenka has a girl in a scarf on it, and how to tell the difference between a real chocolate and a candy bar. Read more in this article.

Cult chocolate

The key ingredient in making high-quality chocolate is cocoa butter, said Olga Onuchina, head of the press service of the United Confectioners holding company during a tour of the company.

During the production of "Alenka" it is used undehydrated, or raw oil, which provides a natural chocolate flavor even in milk chocolate.

"Not only do we have production lines, we also have our own line for processing cocoa beans. This way we get our own raw materials and therefore can control production at all stages, from the cocoa beans to the finished product," Onuchina explained, and added that an important role in making chocolate is played by conching - long and intensive stirring, which helps to remove excess acidity and bitterness and ensure a rich taste and aroma.

The production begins in the workshop, with the preparation of silicone moulds in which the chocolate is poured. The molds are then lightly shaken for even distribution and cooled. At this point, the chocolate is removed from the molds, and the chocolate bar appears on the conveyor belt, ready to be wrapped in foil and paper wrapping - with a picture of a girl in a colored scarf. Her portrait is a collective image of a girl from the '70s, the press manager said.

"I myself have a portrait of me in a similar kerchief. That's how all the mothers dressed their girls. So it's a collective image," she shared.

Today, Alenka chocolate is exported to 45 countries. People in China especially like the Russian delicacy. And it is important for them not only to translate the name "Alenka" into Chinese, but also to write it in Cyrillic. The second most popular Russian sweets of "United Confectioners" among Chinese residents is "Korovarovka" waffles, representatives of the holding said.

The famous "bird", marzipan and candies hand-made

Candies "Bird's milk" with a soufflé texture were invented in the 50s of last century. Prior to that, the Soviet confectionery industry had not produced such sweets. These sweets became the ancestor of a whole type of candy souffle, the press service said.

The unique recipe soufflé is made on the conveyor with the length of more than one hundred meters. Here the creamy-vanilla soufflé is seasoned and then it is given a shape of rectangular plates, which are cut into squares. Now the sweets are ready to be "clothed" in a chocolate coating of dark chocolate.

This year's newest product from the "Inspiration" brand is being prepared on the next conveyor belt: sweets made of crushed almonds in the shape of hearts. For this, the marzipan mass is rolled out in a layer on special equipment and cut out of them "valentines," which are coated with icing: white on top and dark underneath. The first sales already show high demand, so the company decided to expand the production of such candies, the holding said.

The journalists also managed to see how the chocolate figures are made. They are made according to the previously created artistic sketch, which then creates a mold of chocolate and it is hand churned out of the product. The holding company's press service calls the chocolate figures works of art - one of such sculptures was even sent to Elizabeth II.

How can you tell if a chocolate is good?

To distinguish a real chocolate from a confectionary bar, it is enough to hold it in your hands, Onuchina said.

"Chocolate melts at 34 degrees, while the body temperature is 36.6. This means that to distinguish chocolate from a candy bar, which looks like real chocolate, you just need to hold it. If a trace remains, it means it's natural," she explained.

Also, do not worry if you see a light "patina" on the chocolate, as this indicates that it is natural. This brightening occurs because cocoa butter crystals are coming out.

"This indicates the naturalness of the product and is usually due to temperature changes. This is why we do tempering, so that the product is more resistant to the environment. It is because of temperature changes that the crystals of the natural product come out," she said.

Besides, Onuchina recommended to store the chocolate at room temperature and not in the refrigerator.

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