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Category Archives: Plantation Fermentation

Its all about chocolate and cocoa with a conscience.

Planet e: De chocolade-jager

Specifieke cacaobonen. Echter steeds zeldzamer geworden, cacaoplantages vervangen door door palmolieplantages of gewoon gewist. “Planet e” vergezeld de Zwitserse Felix Inderbitzin, chef koper van Felchlin en chocoladefabrikant. Prospectie door het tropische regenwoud in Zuid-Amerika op zoek naar de meest aromatische cacaobonen in de wereld.

De Chocolade-jager

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Internationale en prijswinnende chocolademakers op het Origin Chocolate Event in het Tropeninstituut.

Chocoladeliefhebbers en fijnproevers kunnen hun smaakpapillen weer strelen tijdens dit unieke evenement rondom origine chocolade. Op 23 oktober 2013 zal voor het tweede jaar het Origin Chocolate Event plaatsvinden in het Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen in Amsterdam.

Chocolade: van snoepgoed tot volwassen product

De opkomst van de kleinschalige chocolademakers heeft het product chocolade op een hoger niveau gebracht. Deze chocolademakers verwerken bijzondere variëteiten cacaobonen tot chocolades en weten de meer dan 700 aroma’s in dit complexe product optimaal tot uiting te brengen. Zij behoren tot de prijswinnaars van de gerenommeerde ‘Academy of Chocolate’ en de ‘International Chocolate Awards’.

Werd chocolade voorheen als snoep gezien, hier ervaart u chocolades die zich kunnen meten met de beste soorten koffie en wijnen. Op dit evenement presenteert de crème de la crème van de chocoladewereld haar chocolades en de boeiende verhalen erachter. Onder andere Ecuador, Vietnam en Madagaskar zijn vertegenwoordigd maar ook Kees Raat uit Amsterdam. U proeft zoete en hartige chocolate tapas, de mooiste foodpairings met wijnen, speciaalbieren en thee. Er worden Masterclasses gegeven en Het NH Tropen Hotel biedt tegen een prijs van 39,50 een 3-gangen chocolade diner aan in een van haar prachtige zalen.

Kortom, een evenement waarvan u verrijkt en verkwikt door de theobromine huiswaarts keert.

Waarom het Origin Chocolate Event?

Erik Sauër, importeur van origine chocolades en medeorganisator van het Origin Chocolate Event: ”Origine chocolades zijn gemaakt van cacaobonen uit één specifieke regio, soms zelfs van één specifieke soort. Dit zijn échte streekproducten, met een eigen smaakpallet, die zich onderscheiden van de reguliere chocolades.

Deze chocolades zijn relatief nieuw op de markt en wij willen fijnproevers en chocoladeliefhebbers hiermee bekend maken.

Wat valt er te beleven?

Presentaties en proeverijen van ’s werelds bekendste chocolademakers: Santiago Peralta (Pacari), Bertil Akesson (Akessons), Vincent Mourou & Samuel Maruta (Marou), Philipp Kauffmann (Original Beans), Sepp Schönbächler (Felchlin), Niklaus Blumer en Pascal Wirth (Idilio), Diego Badaro (Amma) en Mikkel Friis Holm (Friis Holm).

Bijzondere ontmoetingen met de meest vooraanstaande chocolade experts ter wereld: Martin Christy (Seventy% Club en International Chocolate Awards), Maricel Presilla (Gran Cacao, chefkok, schrijfster), Clay Gordon (oprichter van http://www.thechocolatelife.com), Anna Laven (cacao expert Royal Tropical Institute).

Verleidende proeverijen van bijzondere cacaosoorten en verfijnde chocolade door o.a. Chocoweb (www.chocoweb.nl) en chocoladewinkel Chocolátl

Exclusieve culinaire hoogstandjes van toppatissiers en chocolatiers: Kees Raat (Metropolitan Deli), Geert Vercruysse (Patisserie Vercruysse) en Alexandre Bellion (Chocolaterie Alexandre).

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Wijn-, bier-, whisky- en spijscombinaties met origine chocolade.

Een exclusief ‘origine chocolade’ diner met een bijpassend wijnarrangement.

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Meer informatie over tijden, sprekers en tickets op http://www.originchocolate.eu

Meer over Origin Chocolate

Origine chocolades zijn chocolades van cacao uit een specifieke regio. Kwaliteit, duurzame concepten, biologisch en direct trade zijn kenmerken van de chocolade in deze groeiende markt. Door de beste kwaliteit cacaobonen te gebruiken en zeer veel aandacht en zorg te besteden aan het productieproces, worden de meest aromatische chocolades gecreëerd. Tijdens het evenement wordt de passie van het fijnproeven gecombineerd met het op de kaart zetten van de speciale origine chocolade.

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Koninklijk instituut voor de Tropen

Het Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (KIT) is een onafhankelijk kennisinstituut op het terrein van duurzame ontwikkeling, gezondheid, cultuur en kennisoverdracht. Het KIT helpt bedrijven, culturele instellingen, ontwikkelingsorganisaties, overheden en vele andere organisaties in binnen- en buitenland hun doelen te bereiken met hoogwaardige en bruikbare kennis. Er is er veel expertise aanwezig over duurzame cacao en de internationale cacaosector. De samenwerking met het Origin Chocolate Event is een voorbeeld van de overdracht van de ‘know how’ in de cacao industrie naar verschillende doelgroepen.

NH Hotels

NH heeft de ambitie om één van de meest maatschappelijk verantwoorde bedrijven te zijn in de gastvrijheidsindustrie. Het aanbieden van producten en gerechten met een duurzaam karakter, dat is waar NH Hotels voor gaat. Daarom steunt NH Tropen, als gastheer in het KIT, het Origin Chocolate Event.

http://www.originchocolate.eu/

 

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Transport of cacao

Another interesting find on the internet about cacao. The original source of the article below is from this site:

http://pinoychocophile.blogspot.be/2013/09/transport-of-cacao.html#.UlUMRVC9WDA

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The Art of Chocolate. From the Finest Cocoa to Exquisite Chocolate. part 5

Published by Max Felchlin AG, Schwyz, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary. (2008)

Since visiting Felchlin 2010 and 2011, I must admit I’m addicted to there chocolate and there philosophy.      This book is to interesting not to blog, so I must share this on my blog.

The Bean   From Harvesting to Shipping

The picked, ripe an healthy cocoa fruits are cut open. The beans are removed and transferred to wooden fermentation boxes that are not exposed to direct sunlight. This is the traditional and most authentic fermentation method; other modern methods, tailored to large-volume fermentation, are not as natural.

Fermentation Before fermentation, the beans are first inspevted and any rotten or mildewed beans discarded. Fermentation starts a maturation process, which involves microorganisms initiation the fermentation of sugar in the pulp, thus generation heat. The fermentation process kills the seedlings in the beans and relaeses an intense odour and juice runs out of the box. With wine, fermentation ends with cooling, however, with cocoa beans, it ends with drying. Experience gained over the centuries, as well as more recent experiments, have helped to determine the exact point when fermentation is over. Criollo, for example, has to ferment for between two or three days, Nacional for between four to five days and Forastero for between seven to eight days (depending on the hybrid). Experience is also necessary for controlled fermentation in boxes: the beans have to turned regularly to ensure sufficient aeration. Other factors that are key to successful fermentation are air humidity, temperature and the size of the boxes (area, height, width). The type and quality of the wood (soft, hard) also play a role.

Drying   After fermentation, the cocoa beans have to be dried with the shrivelled, dry pulp. The best method is a natural one of simply drying the beans in the sun. The fermented beans are spread out in shallow wooden trays or on racks covered with mats made of natural fibres; in the event of sudden rainfall, the mats can simply be rolled up. Drying has to be monotored continuously (almost a daily occurrence in the Tropics), or if the sun is too strong, the beans have to be covered quickly. Three days in the blazing-hot sun is dangerous as the beans are dry on the outside but still moist on the inside; this means that will later “sweat”, give off moisture and then go mouldy during transportation or in storage. Depending on conditions and variety, drying takes between three to eight days. When shipped, beans should not contain more than 6.5 percent moisture.

FERMENTATION METHODS

Fermentation is a natural, spontaneous process that has a major influence on the quality of the flavour of cocoa. By using suitable infrastructures and methods, its possible to control the process and thus the resulting flavour.

Unfermented: the beans start to ferment spontaneously in the transport containers but with no control whatsoever. They are then taken straight to the drying stage, which means that virtually no fermentation takes place. Quality: poor.

Piles: the beans are collected into piles, covered with banana leaves and then left to ferment spontaneously. No infrastructure is required; the process is difficult to control. Quality: moderate to good.

Sacks or baskets: the beans are left to ferment in transport sacks or baskets. Simple infrastructure; only suitable for small quantities. Quality: moderate to good.

Boxes: the beans ferment in wooden boxes and are periodically turned, aerated and checked. Good control; relatively expensive infratructure. Quality: good to very good.

Selection   Buyers differentiate between different qualities of cocoa beans. Thes differences are nothing to do with the actual variety, rather they are the result of the preceding stages, from cultivation to drying. The qualities selected have different names, depending on the country of origin.         

For example, in the Dominican Republic, the highest quality is “Hispaniola”; the buyer has a say in processing and can, for instance, have any beans that are too large or too small removed to ensure uniform roasting sesults: beans that are too small quickly burn and those are too large are not roasted all the way through. In the Dominican Republic, the poorer quality bean is known as “Sanchez”. Local selection is important as this is the only way to determine the quality.  Although the flavour can be influenced at a later stage (roasting, conching), the basic quality cannot (bean variety and size, fermentation, drying).

Most chocolate producers buy cocoa from traders in Europe, for example, in Geneva or Amsterdam. However, Felchlin does things differently. The specialists from Schwyz travel to the place of cultivation, taking the long journey and sometimes arduous communication in their stride in order to buy the cocoa beans at source. This enables them to use their expertise, to astablish relationships abd exert a direct influence on the properties of the beans. This personal commitment has a positive effect on qulity and any variations are relatively easy to prevent.

DRYING METHODS

The fermented beans still contain approx. 60 percent water. This has to be reduced to less than seven percent so that the beans can be tranported and stored. Slow, careful drying is important for the resulting quality and can take up to seven days.

Sun-drying  The beans are spread out to bamboo mats or wooden tables and, depending on weather conditions, protected from strong heat or heavy rains. It’s easy to turn and move the beans and the condition of the beans and the drying process can closely monitored. However, a large amount of manpower is needed and the long drying time is weather-dependent. Quality: good to very good.

Artificial heat  The beans are heated in long, deep trays by bloxwing air that has been heated artificially through a perforated base. There are also other systems for transferring heat. Large quantities can be dried quickly, even in poor weather conditions. However, drying is uneven, often forced and, in the worst-case scenario, the beans can be contaminated with smoke from the combustion facilities. Quality poor to satisfactory.

Next time: The Journey   From the Farmer to Basel

 

Cocoa Culture Spring

A Tropical Heaven deliberately kept secret by natural lovers…..     
but became famous overnight by a Chinese film “My Mother’s Tear”

Teck Guan Cocoa Village

Teck Guan Company started planting cocoa in 1957 and now has 6,000ha of cocoa plantations in Tawau and Semporna.  Teck Guan Cocoa Village is around 1000 acres in size. The sprawling estate has miles and miles of cocoa trees as far as the eye can see. From blooms to green fruits to ripe brown pods, it was a myriad of colors and the air was filled with the scent of cocoa.  Fruit trees are also grown around the area.

Tawau Town is the largest cocoa producer in Malaysia. This has led to the construction of the Malaysian Cocoa Research Centre in Apas Balung, located about 30 km from the town centre.

Before visiting to the Cocoa Village many visitors think cocoa is produced from coffee beans and are surprised to see the cocoa tree and fruit. Even Malaysians do not know this and a visit to the village is an educational trip for many.

Teck Guan Cocoa Village is one of the earliest plantations to cultivate cocoa in Tawau where the volcanic soil is most suitable for this crop.

Teck Guan Cocoa Village is more of a plantation and cocoa processing plant than a village with 1,000 acres cocoa trees. Tawau Town is the main producer and distributor of cocoa in the state of Sabah.

Zero-Shade Cocoa Planting A method by Teck Guan Chairman, Hong Ngit Ming. Cocoa yields have tripled in small estates and big plantations worldwide as well. 

Commercial planting of cocoa for the last 400 years was all under shade cover – Cocoa was originally found growing under jungle; it was thought that cocoa needed shade. Mr. Hong reasoned that since mango and citrus trees, first found growing in the jungle could be grown in the open fields without shade. The same could be applied to cocoa trees. Others before him attempted some isolated research and trial but all failed. Mr. Hong, through his own unique experiments and research made the breakthrough that cocoa trees could grow vigorously without shade in open fields. Hence the name ” ZERO-SHADE COCOA”.

1. Cocoa yields have tripled and hence lower cost of production – sustains the cocoa businesses during abnormal climatic condition and eroded commodity prices.

2. No more shade planting; hence lower cost of planting and no competition for moisture during drought.

3. Precocity – yield much quicker, hence lower capital outlay, earlier and higher payback.

 

AMELONADO cocoa : Since 1957 Teck Guan has been planting these specially selected, fine-flavored AMETONADO cocoa in the fertile volcanic soil around the Quoin Hill volcano area. Today Teck Guan is the largest and successful AMELONADO cocoa producer in Malaysia.

Most cocoa trees bear fruit in the fifth year. Some trees may early  yield pods in the third and forth years.

A cocoa tree reaches peek production in about 10 years and will continue producing pods for the next 12-13 years. Some 30-40 years old tree  still producing pods. This 50 years old Cocoa tree in Tawau is still producing pods. Cocoa farms are colorful.  Young cocoa leaves are large, red, and glossy.  The leave darken to green when mature. Moss and colorful lichens often cling to the bark of cocoa trees.

Thousands of tiny, white five-pedaled blossoms cluster together on the trunk and branches. Only 3% to 10% of the blossoms will mature into fruits.

 

The fruit grows as green or maroon pods on the trunk. Shaped like an elongated melon, these pods ripen to golden with multicolored flecks.

To harvest cocoa beans, first the ripe pods must be removed from the trees. Cocoa farmers  reach the cocoa pods with long handled, mitten-shaped steel tools. These tools reach the highest pods and snip them without wounding the soft bark of the tree.  A parang (machete) is used for pods growing closer to the ground.

A typical pod has 20 to 50 cream-colored beans.

Once the beans have been removed from the pods, the farm workers heap them into piles and covers them with mats.  A layer of pulp that surrounds the beans heats and ferments the beans. Fermentation  last about 1 week. This process  removes the raw, bitter taste of cocoa.  The sugars contained in the beans are converted to acid  during fermentation.

The process generates temperatures as high as 125 degrees Fahrenheit (52 degrees Celsius), activating existing enzymes in the beans to form compounds that produce the chocolate flavor. When the beans are brown color they are now ready for drying.

 

 

Cocoa beans are dried to keep from spoiling. They are dried by laying on  matting under the sun.  This drying process takes several days. During the period the beans are turn frequently and checks for foreign matter and flat, broken or germinated beans.  During drying, beans lose nearly all their moisture and more than half their weight.

Dried beans from one pod weigh less than two ounces. About 400 beans make one pound of chocolate.

 

Entrance to Teck Guan Cocoa Village, A giant cocoa pod welcome visitors at the entrance gate. Here in the village, visitor learn the life of a cocoa tree, how the village began and how a cocoa flower  bloom and grow from a bud into a lovely red fruit.

Entrance to Teck Guan Cocoa Village

 

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Fermentacion de cacao

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Fermentation in bins.

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Fermentation in bins – Venezuela.

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