Whatever you call them or however you spell it – melanger, melangeur, wet grinder – or just use the manufacturer name, stone-on-stone grinders are heart and soul, bread and butter, go-to means for specialty chocolate makers to transform cocoa nib into chocolate.
In this deep dive we’ll take a look at their modern history, look at a variety of styles of melangers from a variety of manufacturers, contrast how they are used compared with other methods of transforming nib and other ingredients into chocolate, and look at alternatives for scaling up production.
The melanger above is used to process nuts and sugar into a paste which is then further processed in an antique slow speed three-roll mill with granite stones (below center). (What you can’t see in this video, although it’s shown in two of the photos in the gallery below, is that many machines are – still – belt driven from the same shaft that runs near the ceiling along one long wall of the workshop.)
The melanger also processes nib into liquor which is then processed into chocolate in a small ball mill which is barely visible at the left edge of the right-hand image helow, which shows a three-roll mill with steel rollers. The penguin is hanging off of an antique conche.
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