GRENADA CHOCOLATE FEST CELEBRATING ETHICAL TREE-TO-BAR CHOCOLATE
Category Archives: Cocoa Chocolate making
Explore Cacao Cultivation, Post-Harvest processing and Artisanal Chocolate Making in Costa Rica with local experts and your host, Julio Fernández Amón, founder of Sibö Chocolate. Visit cacao plantations, collection facilities and clonal gardens; and follow the tree-to-bar process firsthand from harvesting and fermentation to drying, roasting, winnowing and conching with both artisanal and industrial equipment. Your chocolate making will benefit from a deeper understanding of cacao cultivation and processing, and how this impacts bean flavor and quality.
Location of Bilsa Biological Station within Mache-Chindul Reserve in Esmeraldas Province, northwest
So what is it about chocolate that gets us all ‘wild’? And why are many people, like me, so attracted to this substance?
One of the biggest debates for the production of fine chocolate is that on the type of cocoa. There are seemingly minor details on the commercial classification of the various cocoas:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Bulk cocoas – About 94% of the world’s cocoa production is classified as “bulk” cocoa. This type of cocoa has just a basic chocolate flavor, with no ancillary notes. However, this does not imply cocoa of inferior quality.⠀⠀⠀
Specialty cocoas – “Specialty” cocoas indicate a range that generally commands premium prices over bulk cocoas (from about 20% rising to double or even treble the bulk cocoa bean prices). They are not traded as a commodity but have their own supply chains which preserve the identity of the individual lots. These cocoas are from specific geographic origins, varieties, environment-friendly growing regimes, and purchased under schemes that benefit the growers.⠀⠀⠀
“Fine” or “flavor” cocoas – There is no agreed definition of “fine” or “flavor” cocoas except they are purchased at a premium price (as for the specialty cocoas) for their ancillary flavors that are described variously as fruity, floral, spicy, nutty, etc..⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
These distinctions explain consequent aspects in buying and tasting:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Fine or flavor cocoas necessarily fall under specialty cocoas for their high commercial value.
Specialty cocoas may include cocoas that cannot strictly be considered “fine” or “flavor” for lacking certain aromatic notes other than a great chocolaty base.⠀
In the right perspective, when a chocolate bar just tastes like “chocolate” (with zero defects like bitterness, astringency, and undesired acidity) it is actually an indicator of quality, not necessarily a “flat” or “boring” experience. As a matter of fact, some chocolate bars exist with exceptionally rich chocolate flavor backgrounds satisfying our cravings even more than some poorly-processed products from “rare” cocoa varieties.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Both tubes are 70% chocolate. 50 nibs plus 20 butter is the same total as 70 nibs plus no butter. Adding butter speeds up the melt, reveals flavours faster, changes flavour profile of some beans -even if just a few %
Might be same total but different butter content. Nibs have about 50% butter plus or minus a few points depending on variety. So the 70% all nibs has 35% butter and the 50% nibs with additional 20% butter has a total of 45% butter. Nice imagery and visual
Yup plus or minus a few %. All these numbers and %s… we really needed a visual! People at festivals used to stare blankly now they get it instantly. Thanks to Adil @chocolatlnl for the inspiration!
picture: Daintree Estates
Good chocolate: this distinction may not be pertinent to anyone with serious cocoa cravings on their way to the supermarket for a quick fix, albeit of the mass-produced kind. For the casual consumer, chocolate is chocolate.