Van cacao tot chocolade

– De reis van cacao tot chocolade

De transformatie van cacao naar chocolade begint met een boom, de Theobroma Cacao. De boom groeit in vochtige, tropische klimaten en krijgt vruchten na ongeveer twee jaar.

Deze vruchten zijn de cacaovruchten die de kostbare cacaobonen bevatten. De vruchten worden manueel geoogst, natuurlijk gefermenteerd gedurende een week en gedroogd in de zon.

De reis gaat verder wanneer de bonen naar de chocoladeproducent gaan waar ze geroosterd en fijngemalen worden tot cacaomassa.

Deze massa wordt vervolgens gemengd met suiker en andere ingrediënten en verder verfijnd om de aroma’s te ontwikkelen waar chocoladeliefhebbers gek op zijn.

Elke stap van dit complexe proces is cruciaal om zeker te zijn van chocolade met een superieure smaak.


The debate about white chocolate

Do you know that there is a big debate in the fine chocolate industry on whether white chocolate is really chocolate?

White chocolate is made only with the fatty part of the cocoa bean (the cocoa butter) without the “brown” part that gives chocolate its characteristic color, flavor and nutrients. This is why some chocolate aficionados don’t even consider white chocolate to be real chocolate, demeaning its status to simply a sweet candy.

But whether you consider white chocolate “real” chocolate or not, it doesn’t really matter as long as you enjoy eating it. In our assortment, we like to carry many white chocolate bars made by expert craft makers with fine unprocessed cocoa butter and intriguing additions of fruits, nuts and many other delicious high-quality ingredients.

In his book “Chocolate – Indulge Your Inner Chocoholic”, chocolate expert Dom Ramsey from the United Kingdom explains that white chocolate was first made in the 1930s as a way to use up excess cocoa butter created during the production of cocoa powder, and that there are actually 4 types of white chocolate:

CLASSIC WHITE: a smooth combination of cocoa butter, sugar and milk powder. The core flavors are quite simple, so vanilla is often added to the mix.

CARAMELIZED WHITE: also called “blond” chocolate, it is made by heating the chocolate until the sugars caramelized, resulting in syrup-like sweetness and toasted flavor.

WHITE WITH INCLUSIONS: solid pieces of flavouring are added after tempering the chocolate. These could be fruits, nuts, edible flowers, or cocoa nibs.

FLAVORED WHITE: powdered flavorings or essential oils are added to the chocolate during grinding and conching, allowing the flavors to melt with the chocolate.

In the past two years, we have witnessed many craft chocolate makers expanding their assortment from an all-dark chocolate range to more fun and mouth-watering options, including white chocolate bars that soon became bestsellers and award winners.

So we are now curious to know: how do you like white chocolate?



Time to savour the craft (and read the small print)


By contrast, mass produced chocolate can see a bean turned into a bar in a few hours. It uses a completely different approach. Time is – literally – money. The faster, and more efficient, the better. Flavour, taste and texture can all be added later. The machines have to be kept running and utilised. (Sidenote: this gives rise to the challenge of “mass balance fair trade” bars where the beans in these fair trade bars may not be themselves “fair trade” as this would require the machines to be stopped, cleaned, changed over, etc. So their is an exemption allowed and beans are “balanced out”)

Indeed the very roasting approach of mass produced bars is completely different to craft makers roasting. Instead of first roasting the beans, and then removing the shells, most mass produced chocolate bars reverse the process. Beans are steamed, shells removed and the nibs are roasted. This is more efficient (yields go up by 3-5%). But it doesn’t optimise flavour. Think freeze dried coffee versus freshly roasted, and then ground, coffee beans. Faster and more efficient. But not the same flavour.

Next mass produced chocolate uses high pressures and massive grinders to turn the roasted nibs into chocolate liquor. And then they temper and mould. It’s fast. It’s efficient. It’s MASSIVE. Craft chocolate is in batches of between 10-500kgs. Mass produced chocolate stars with batches of 2,500 kgs and goes to hundreds of thousand kilos / tonnes per batch. However, to put it mildly, this is not great for flavour. But that’s what additives are for!

And then very often mass produced chocolate will remove the cocoa butter and replace with other ingredients. Why? These other ingredients are far cheaper. Palm oil, vegetable fat and PGPR (don’t ask) are a lot cheaper than cocoa butter. And sugar is far, far cheaper than even cocoa powder (what’s left over when the cocoa butter is extracted). And sugar is VERY addictive.



To craft chocolate, time and attention to detail (the small print) are key. You first have to sort the beans. Think a few hours per 50KG sack. Then you have to roast (and sometimes pre-roast).

Think 20-30 mins in most cases, but realise that different bean sizes and varieties need different heats for different times. Then the roasted beans have to be cracked and winnowed (removing the shells from the roasted beans).

Think 1-2 hours per batch, and depending on the winnower (it can be a hair dryer …) lots of broken nails. Then grinding and concheing – which can be anywhere from 10 to 200 hours.

Then many chocolate makers will let their chocolate “rest” before tempering and moulding into bars (some will rest for weeks if not months).

Time is required. It’s all about coaxing flavour from the beans. And that takes time.

bron: Cocoarunners

Happy food

Happy food bestaat! Pure chocolade is rijk aan magnesium, dat helpt bij het verminderen van angst, stress!

Het bevat ook fenylethylamine (PEA), de chemische stof die door de hersenen wordt aangemaakt wanneer je verlieft bent. PEA bevordert de afgifte van endorfine in de hersenen, net zoals je gelukkig wordt van sporten.

Daarom voel je je gelukkiger als je CHOCOLADE eet!


Granola en chocolade.

Granola voor gezonde chocoladefans! Met gepoft lijnzaad, geroosterde volkoren havervlokken, kokos, amandelen, hazelnoten en een flinke schep melkchocolade, van topkwaliteit biologische cacaobonen. Het zoeten gebeurd met honing en wel degelijk met een yucatan honing.

Granola is een mengeling van geroosterde noten, granen & zaden. Het lijkt op muesli, maar doordat granola geroosterd is, heeft het een lekkere en krokante smaak.

Het brengt de stofwisseling en spijsvertering mooi op gang. Ook bevat het een goede balans van voedingstoffen.

Porridge: indien ik deze granola wil gebruiken voor pap (=porridge) dan zal ik deze niet roosteren. Wel zal ik op het einde bij het klaarmaken de chocolade toevoegen, zodat deze niet zal smelten in het geheel.

Voor de gevorderden kan je gebruik maken van karnemelk, wat een heerlijke afwisseling is.


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It’s a long journey from cocoa tree to chocolate.

It’s a long journey from cocoa tree to chocolate, but one always worth taking! Here are all the most crucial steps that see raw cocoa beans turning into shining chocolate bars:

HARVESTING. When the cocoa trees that grow in tropical climates start showing the first ripe cocoa pods, these are picked by farmers with a machete and collected right on the field. The cocoa pods are opened and their inside (cocoa beans + white mucilage) is collected inside big buckets and brought to the fermentation center.
FERMENTING. Together with the white mucilage that surrounds them, the beans are placed into large wooden boxes, and they are turned regularly throughout the following 3-5 days. The temperature inside the box raises naturally to 40-50°, enabling all the bacterial and yeast activities to take place.
DRYING. After some days in the fermentation box, the cocoa beans still contain a high level of moisture that needs to be removed to avoid molding. The beans are moved to outdoor patios or movable carros to dry outside under the sun for a few more days. Once dried, the beans are sorted, bagged and shipped.
ROASTING. When they receive their precious cacao, chocolate makers roast it for two main reasons: flavor development and sanitization. Times and temperatures will vary depending on the bean type and specific goal of each chocolate maker.
CRACKING & WINNOWING. After roasting, the outer shell of the beans becomes thin and brittle. The beans can then be cracked and the shells be winnowed from the cocoa nibs that will be used for the production of chocolate.
GRINDING & CONCHING. These two processes are often combined in one single machine, the melangeur. First, the nibs are ground into a thick paste known as cocoa mass. While the cocoa mass keeps being refined inside the melangeur, chocolate makers add all the other ingredients like sugar, milk or vanilla. This step will be completed when the desired texture and flavor are achieved.
TEMPERING. During this process, the temperature of the chocolate is raised and lowered to achieve the right consistency and the stabilization of the crystals. This is what gives the chocolate its traditional shine and sharp snap.
MOULDING. Once tempered, the melted chocolate is poured into the stylish molds and either tapped against a hard surface or put on vibrating platforms to remove air bubbles.
WRAPPING. When the chocolate has completely cooled down, the final bar is carefully inspected to meet quality standards, and then wrapped in foil or paper packaging to keep it fresh.
The chocolate is finally ready to be savoured and enjoyed. What a journey!

Original post by DENNIS VAN ESSEN





twee soorten chocolademousse”Colombia” Original Beans en Ecuador*

gianduja hazelnoot/amandel en chocolademousse”Chuncho” Original Beans*

Amandelmelk, vanille en exotische aromas…**

Chocolademousse “Chuncho” Peru 65% en frambozen-mango*

*vanilleanglaise **coulis framboos

BELANGRIJK VOOR DE VIENNOISERIE: het is beter te bestellen, want een glazenbol heb ik niet 😉


DONDERDAG 24 DEC (KERSTAVOND) : 8 uur tot 18 uur
VRIJDAG KERSTDAG : 8 uur tot 14 uur
ZATERDAG 26 DEC : 8 uur tot 16 uur
ZONDAG 27 DEC : 7 uur tot 15 uur


Nieuw onderzoek toont aan dat cacao ons slimmer kan maken!

Bijna 60% van de totale inname van flavonoïden is afkomstig van fruit en cacao

Flavanolen, een bestanddeel dat aanwezig is in dit voedsel, verhogen de zuurstofvoorziening van de hersenen en verbeteren de mentale behendigheid bij zeer moeilijke cognitieve taken.

Afgelopen juli werd in een studie uitgevoerd door de Universiteit van Barcelona en het Idibell (Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute) de oorsprong onderzocht van flavonoïden , natuurlijke pigmenten die het lichaam beschermen: ze toonden aan dat bijna 60% van de totale inname van flavonoïden komt uit fruit en cacao .

Deze plantaardige pigmenten hebben antioxiderende en ontstekingsremmende eigenschappen. Tot nu toe hebben eerdere studies kunnen bevestigen dat diëten die rijk zijn aan flavanolen beschermen tegen cognitieve veroudering en gekoppeld zijn aan een lager risico op dementie, maar nieuw onderzoek door professoren aan de Universiteit van Birmingham heeft een stap verder kunnen gaan.

Eerdere studies
Ze hadden bevestigd dat flavanolen beschermen tegen cognitieve veroudering en verband houden met een lager risico op dementie.

Flavanolen, een bestanddeel dat aanwezig is in cacao, verhogen de zuurstofvoorziening van de hersenen en verbeteren de mentale behendigheid bij zeer moeilijke cognitieve taken

Door het effect van cacaoconsumptie bij gezonde jonge volwassenen te analyseren, heeft de studie gepubliceerd in Scientific Reports aangetoond dat het leidt tot snellere hersenoxygenatiereacties en verbetert de mentale prestaties in het licht van hoge cognitieve eisen .

Het onderzoek werd uitgevoerd dankzij de deelname van 18 vrijwilligers tussen 18 en 40 jaar oud. Sommigen van hen kregen een placebo – een cacaodrank met een laag gehalte aan flavanolen – en anderen slikten de drank in met een extra aanvulling van deze pigmenten . De respons op complexe cognitieve taken en oxygenatie van de hersenen varieerde tussen de twee groepen.

Oxygenatie en mentale behendigheid bij complexe taken

De vrijwilligers werden blootgesteld aan een atmosfeer met 100 keer hogere kooldioxideconcentraties dan normaal, om het risico op natuurlijke wijze te verhogen en om de veranderingen in oxygenatie te kunnen analyseren. Later werd de nabij-infraroodspectroscopietechniek gebruikt , waarmee de veranderingen in het zuurstofniveau in het bloed zichtbaar werden.

Degenen die de cacaodrank met het flavanolsupplement hadden ingenomen, vertoonden een betere en intensievere zuurstofvoorziening in de frontale laterale gebieden van de hersenen . De respons in die gevallen was een minuut sneller dan die van degenen die een placebo hadden ingenomen.

Gebruikers die de drank met flavanolen hebben geconsumeerd
Ze vertoonden een betere en intensere oxygenatie in de frontale laterale hersengebieden

Ten slotte liet het onderzoek ook zien hoe een hogere inname van flavanolen direct verband hield met de nauwkeurigheid en snelheid waarmee gebruikers complexe taken konden voltooien. Aan de andere kant kon in de eenvoudige middagen geen verandering worden gewaardeerd.

De auteurs van de studie hebben opgemerkt dat deze componenten grotendeels worden aangetroffen in fruit en groenten, en dat het belangrijk is om bewust te zijn van de voordelen die ze opleveren voor onze gezondheid, om te laten zien dat we eerder geneigd zijn ze permanent in onze voeding op te nemen.



How LBCs are illegally renting certification licenses to businessmen.

JoyNews investigations have uncovered how some Licensed Buying Companies and farmer society groups illegally rent their certification licenses to businessmen to enable them to export regular cocoa as certified ones.

It came to the fore that a certification license could be rented out for as high as a million cedis to businessmen.

Under the Cocoa Sustainability Initiative, farmers are paid extra premium for growing certified cocoa.

However, in many cocoa growing areas across the country, there’s a blatant abuse of the system giving rise to a situation where some LBCs do not pay the appropriate premium and also pass regular cocoa as certified.

In the latest Hotline Documentary dubbed Robbing The Poor, investigative journalist Kwetey Nartey probed these underhand dealings that make the farmer poorer defeating the purpose of the Cocoa Sustainability Programme by dealing with certification bodies as one of the managers of a new LBC.

In April 2019, UTZ, a cocoa certification standard body, sets up its Cocoa Assurance Plan which included a temporary ban on any new cocoa certifications in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire. Applying for a new license is out of the question.

In this exposé, the investigative team decided to go on a hunt for licensed buying companies or interest groups in the cocoa sector willing to trade their license.

Hope Wordu, an official of the Business Assurance BV, a certification body, was willing to assist in the process to obtain a certification license through shady deals with officials of LBCs and CSO in the cocoa sector.

Hope who also works with two certification bodies took a commitment fee of $1000 to start his work.

He opened up on how he will work the documentation when UTZ/Rainforest Alliance lifts the ban to enable the undercover team to certify its own farm group for the certification process, part of which may be genuine, while a significant part will be falsified.

He even admitted his actions could attract sanctions from the certification standards body if caught. But, for him, the gains outweigh the odds.

Mr Wordu knows very well why farmers are being exploited by some LBCs that have signed up for the certification programme and admits that the 25% of cash premium must be given to farmers.

In all, we will spend fewer dollars on securing UTZ/Rainforest certificate if we engage his services.

We agreed to a commitment fee of $2,000 after signing a contract with him. A project management fee of $1,000 for 12 months, ten per cent of the total premium received from UTZ/RA certified procurement. He set up a meeting with Abraham, one of the senior managers of a licensed buying company in the country.

He elected Hope to be his spokesperson during the meeting. They expressed their willingness to give the undercover team their RainForest Alliance certificate to sign an agreement and ship certified cocoa to a ghost chocolate company.

Abraham pledges that the team can use their RainForest certificate and pay ¢140,000 as renewal fees. Hope steps in to reassure the team that this practice is general conduct among some licensed buying companies. He says some companies are actually trading with other companies’ certificates.

In this case, he adds that the undercover team needs to do a bit of training for the farmers to cover up the fraud.

To ascertain how deep this canker is in the industry, the undercover team requested a meeting with another cocoa interest group willing to sell their certificate to me. Hope introduces the team to officials of farmer-based association Kookoo Pa.

Its Executive Director, Fred Amponsah and one Ibrahim are were present at the discussion which centered on how much each would gain if the deal is pulled off successfully.

The conversation then shifted to the shady details of using their certificate to export cocoa to chocolate producers.

Hope admits that this act is illegal. But for him, in business, interest matters more than standards.

It will cost the team ¢1 million to own the certificate of Kookoo Pa farmer-based association. The executives presented the team with two certificates as proof of how serious they were in engaging the team.

o industry players, this issue should be a matter of concern.

Selling the certification standard is an affront to the integrity of the program. Country Director of UTZ/RA spells out what it could cost them if such evidence is presented.

The regulator, COCOBOD knows what this means to the industry. Head of Public Relations Fiifi Boafo says bending rules under the certification programme should not be condoned.

Clearly, it is those in charge of setting the standards for poor cocoa growers who are rather breaking the rules. But, this breach of protocols, meant to attract sanctions, is rather making these crooked officials better off, while farmers sink deep in poverty.

It may appear to be a simple case of poor implementation of the cocoa certification programme.

However, this is a complex, dubious, deliberate practice of sidestepping the processes and paying cash premiums to farmers for the purchase of conventional cocoa bagged as certified ones.

When JoyNews contacted officials of Olam Ghana and Nyonkopa cocoa buying companies they said their international office hasn’t given them any clearance to speak on the issue.

Eliho cocoa buying company said they are unable to speak to the issue and directed the investigative team to speak to the licensed cocoa buying association.

Officials of Kuapa Kooko also did not provide responses to the team after they had requested for a formal letter detailing questions we wish them to answer.

Footnote: Equator Commodities is not involved in any of the malpractice this expose sought to unravel. The investigative team in their dealings used the said name as a cover-up story to infiltrate the camp of those renting cocoa certificates.


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Posted by on 01/11/2020 in scandal, Travel


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