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Category Archives: Plantation Fermentation

Its all about chocolate and cocoa with a conscience.

Cacau cabruca

 

South Bahia Cabruca Cacao

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Cacao is the fruit of the cacao tree, a tree of medium dimensions – between 4 and 8 meters – with long leaves of approximately 30 cm. the fruit measures between 15 and 30 cm in length and has a width of 7 to 12 cm, ellipsoid shape and contains 30-40 kernels.
It is native to the rainforest areas of tropical America, and in its progression has given origin to two important groups: criollo and forastero. The latter became diffused in the Amazon Basin, and is considered the real Brazilian cacao, with its egg-shaped fruits with a smooth, slightly furrowed or wrinkly surface and purple seeds.
A mutation of forastero cocoa gave light to catongo cacao, with white seeds, discovered in Bahia. Cacao has best adapted to the south of this state, where 95% of all Brazilian cacao is produced.
In Bahia, the first historical record of cacao dates back to 1655, when D. Vasco de Mascarenhas sent a letter to Major-Captain Grão-Pará, talking about his fondness of the fruit. In 1746, cacao started being cultivated in southern Bahia, especially in the county of Canavieiras. In 1752, it reached Ilhéus, and ever since it has been the most characteristic local cultivation. Adapting very well to the Bahian Atlantic Forest, it had become the most important export of the state by the early 20th century. After the incidence of witch’s broom in the area, an illness affecting cacao trees caused by a basidiomycete fungus, which significantly decreased local production, fungus-resistant varieties were introduced to the area, among which Theobahia and the clones CEPEC 2002-2011 are especially worth mentioning, making up a large part of trees in many production areas.

credit-Reveca-Tapie

Photo: Reveca Tapie

In the Bahian cacao region, much local knowledge and experience has developed, giving birth to a unique agricultural model – the cabruca system. The traditional cacao planting method of southern Bahia follows the “cabrucated forest” system, characterized by the planting of cacao trees in the shade of Atlantic Forest trees, and has been used in the area for more than 200 years. This practice was devised by the first immigrants, and can thus be considered a precursor to current agroforestry systems.
Frequently, cabruca cacao is associated with organic cacao production.
However, not all cabruca cacao is organic, as the cabruca system only implies the type of plantation (in the shade of Atlantic Forest trees), but leaves it up to the farmer if he wants to use pesticides or other techniques for controlling pests. Despite this, many cacao growing communities and farms of southern Bahia produce organic, agroecologic cabruca cacao, in order to have good, clean and fair fruits.
All of this explains why the area is known as “Cacao Region”, being mentioned even by great writers such as Jorge Amado, retelling its story, which is tightly connected to the culture and history of the area. This is why a big part of the local tourism is oriented towards cacao and its most famous product, chocolate.

Source: via South Bahia Cabruca Cacao – Arca del Gusto – Slow Food Foundation

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‘Vroeger stond hier een heel regenwoud…’

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via Nationale parken in ijltempo vernield om grote chocoladeprod… – De Standaard

 

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Getting to know the chocolate supply chain.

“If we want delicious chocolate, we need to create better business models in which farmers can succeed producing high-quality cacao,” says Maya Granit, co-founder and managing director of Uncommon Cacao.

Bron: Opinion: Getting to know the chocolate supply chain | Devex

 

Cocoa Prices Have Crashed but Smugglers Are Still Making Money – Bloomberg

Ghana’s cocoa board pays $27 more for a bag of beans than it’s worth in Ivory Coast. Illicit traders are profiting from the difference.

“Cocoa farmers are supposed to have money, but here we are very poor”

Bron: Cocoa Prices Have Crashed but Smugglers Are Still Making Money – Bloomberg

 

That bitter flavour in your chocolate bar?

Well-known brands, such as Mars and Nestle, are buying through global traders cocoa that is grown illegally in dwindling national parks and reserves in Ivory Coast and Ghana, environmental group Mighty Earth said.
“Every consumer of chocolate is a part of either the problem or the solution,” said Etelle Higonnet, campaign director at Mighty Earth.
“You can choose to buy ethical chocolate. Or you’re voting with your dollar for deforestation.”
Mars and Nestle said they are working to tackle deforestation.
“We take a responsible approach to sourcing cocoa and have committed to source 100 per cent certified sustainable cocoa by 2020,” Mars said in an email.
Both companies have committed to join the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, a major effort to end deforestation in the global cocoa supply chain, launched in March.

“We will be working to ensure human rights are given a high priority alongside the environmental aims of this initiative,” Nestle said in emailed comments.
Almost one-third of 23 protected natural areas in Ivory Coast that researchers visited in 2015 had been almost entirely converted to illegal cocoa plantations, the report said.
Researchers said the practice is so widespread that villages of tens of thousands of people, along with churches and schools, have sprung up in national parks to support the cocoa economy.
Ivory Coast, Francophone West Africa’s biggest economy, is the world’s top cocoa grower.
While the bulk of its 1 million cocoa farmers ply their trade legally, Washington-based Mighty Earth estimates about a third of cocoa is grown illegally in protected areas.

Deforestation for cocoa happens in sight of authorities and chocolate traders are aware of it, they said.
Loss of natural forests is problematic because they act as a home for the region’s wildlife, and a key weapon against climate change, absorbing carbon dioxide – a major driver of climate change – as they grow.
Available land for new cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast ran out long ago, so farmers have moved into parks and reserves, taking advantage of a decade of political crisis that ended in 2011.
Ivory Coast’s now has about 2.5 million hectares of natural forest, a fifth of what it had at independence in 1960, according to European Union figures. Most of the losses have been due to expanding agriculture.
The government has struggled to evict farmers from forest reserves amid accusations in 2013 of human rights abuses by security forces.
Details of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, which is initially focusing on Ivory Coast and Ghana, will be announced by November’s global climate talks in Bonn.

Bron: That bitter flavour in your chocolate bar? It’s the taste of African deforestation and wildlife endangerment | South China Morning Post

 

Cocoa Of Excellence

Cocoa of Excellence Programme     Empowering a new generation                  of cocoa pioneers         Recognizing exceptional flavours & know-how, whilst preserving cacao diversity

Bron: Cocoa Of Excellence

 

Biochemical processes.

During fermentation the beans undergo a journey through complex biochemical processes. The sensitivity of this process is impressive. Small differences in factors like atmospheric temperature, volumes and spacing of aeration can have profound effects on the flavor that develops throughout the process.

Bron: Agrofloresta Mesoamericana op Instagram:

 
 
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