Cocoa and Quality
All chocolate products start with the cocoa tree!
In the shade of other trees our cocoa trees begin to produce the finest fruits. Tiny pink or whitish flowers grow along the trunk and main branches of the cocoa tree. These flowers must be pollinated before the tree can produce the pods that contain the seeds - the cocoa beans.
After 6 months when the pods ripen, they are harvested with a curved knife. The beans are removed from the pod with a machete.
The pulp and seeds are piled to ferment for three to ten days. They are quickly dried by spreading the beans out in the sun.
During this time the thick pulp liquefies.
The fermented pulp trickles away, leaving cocoa seeds behind to be collected. The beans are dried by spreading them out over a large surface and constantly raking them. Finally, the beans could be further processed.
Quality decides on taste and flavour!
The cocoa originally comes almost exclusively from Venezuela.
There are three main varieties of the cacao: Forastero, Criollo, and Trinitario. Overall, the highest quality of cacao comes from the Criollo (span. “Native, Creole”) variety and is considered a delicacy.
However, Criollo is harder to produce; hence very few countries produce it, with the majority of production coming from Venezuela.
Forastero (span. “stranger”) comprises 95% of the world production of cacao, and is the most widely used. The
Trinitario is a mix between Criollo and Forastero.