The Cacao and Coffee series: In coffee we refer to many of the varieties coming from Ethiopia and East Africa, the birthplace of coffee, as “heirloom” and not as each specific variety. There are so many varieties, and local names differ to internationally accepted names in any case. We can say the same about wild cacao from the Amazon region. There are so many cacao varieties that people decide to call them wild cacao instead of Amelonado, Catongo, Trinitario, etc. These wild cacao varieties usually come with an exotic taste due to its nature, similar to heirloom coffee varieties. You could call it birthplace diversity explosion!
Can We Use The Whole Cacao Pod? So, if the cacao seeds are the only part of the fruit that ends up in our chocolate, does that mean the rest goes to waste?
We’ve already mentioned that pulp can be consumed on its own. Additionally, Eduardo tells me, “In Latin American countries, the cacao [by-products] may be used to feed livestock.”
Alfredo adds that “cacao pods uses are varied. In a cacao event in Thailand, they served a dinner with more than 70 different [cacao] servings that varied from soups, rice, meats, desserts, drinks and others.”
And Pedro explains that, even when the by-products aren’t consumed, they can still be reused. “The shell of the pod, once it’s been harvested normally, is left in the plantation because the Forcipomyia fly (principle insect that helps in the pollination of the cocoa flower) will lay its eggs in there. Then [the shell] is reincorporated in the soil once it’s degraded,” he says. “Other farmers make compost with the shells because they are rich in potassium and help to improve organic matter in the soil.”
Nieuw partnerschap duurzame chocolade. 100% duurzame chocolade tegen 2030.
Een leefbaar inkomen voor lokale cacaoproducenten en 100% duurzaam geproduceerde chocolade tegen 2025. Die belofte maakten tientallen bedrijven, ngo’s, middenveldorganisaties, overheidsvertegenwoordigers en onderzoeksinstellingen. Onder het toeziend oog van minister van Ontwikkelingssamenwerking Alexander De Croo, ondertekenden zij op 5 december allen een charter ‘Beyond Chocolate’. Het partnerschap omvat onder meer engagementen om kinderarbeid aan te pakken, ontbossing tegen te gaan en een volwaardig inkomen te voorzien voor cacaoproducenten.
Ook investeert de sector tot 2025 jaarlijks 35 miljoen euro om alle in België geproduceerde chocolade te laten voldoen aan standaarden rond duurzaamheid, of ze te laten maken met cacaoproducten uit de bedrijfseigen duurzaamheidsprogramma’s.
What does the percentage mean?
The higher the percentage, the more bitter the chocolate. That’s why unsweetened chocolate, a.k.a. bitter chocolate, which contains 100 percent cocoa bean product, is only suitable for baking. Semisweet chocolate has at least 35 percent cacao, but usually around 55 percent, with added sugar, but no dairy. Milk chocolate only has to have 10 percent cacao at minimum and 12 percent milk solids. This gives it a creamy, rich taste, but all the added sugar makes it much sweeter too.