The Chemistry behind Chocolate Production

Molecules. 2019 Aug 30;24(17):3163. doi: 10.3390/molecules24173163.


Chocolate production is a complex process during which numerous chemical reactions occur. The most important processes, involving most of the reactions important for development of the proper chocolate flavor, are fermentation, drying and roasting of cocoa bean, and chocolate conching. During fermentation, formation of important precursors occurs, which are essential for further chemical reactions in the following processes of chocolate production. Roasting is one of the most important processes due to the occurrence of Maillard's reactions, during which aroma compounds are formed. In this paper, we have reviewed the most important chemical reactions that occur with proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and polyphenols. Additionally, we present other components that may be naturally present or form during the production process, such as methylxanthines, aldehydes, esters, ketones, pyrazines, acids, and alcohols.

Keywords: Maillard reactions; chocolate; cocoa beans; polyphenols; pyrazines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cacao / chemistry*
  • Carbohydrates / chemistry
  • Chocolate / analysis*
  • Fermentation
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / analysis


  • Carbohydrates
  • Lipids
  • Plant Proteins