The cacao tree, which is the source of all chocolate goods, is native to South America and is currently planted all over the world around the equator. Its features are similar to those of the whole bean coffee, and it grows in the same locations. Africa and Indonesia account for 85% of global output, although South America is often regarded as the premier cocoa pods manufacturing site.
There are essentially three commercially cultivated cocoa varieties:
Criollo – This cacao bean is often regarded as the greatest quality in the world. It’s tough to cultivate, disease-prone, and yields fewer cocoa pods than other species. It is nearly entirely cultivated in South America and is the favoured chocolate of the world’s greatest chocolatiers.
Forastero – This cultivar is simpler to cultivate and produces a lot of fruit. This hardy variety was the first to be brought to Africa, and it now accounts for 90% of all cocoa products like cocoa pods worldwide.
Trinitario – This is a cross between Criollo and Forastero trees that aims to combine the best of both worlds. It is mostly planted in South America and produces more fruit than the Criollo Tree and has a higher quality than the Forastero Tree.
90% to 95% of Cacao Tree farms are privately owned and run, making this a highly unique business in which smaller trading enterprises have a particular advantage over the industry’s larger brothers.
The larger chocolatiers are primarily concerned with volume and consistency, thus they must use exclusively African Forastero beans. This is the only crop on the planet that can match their volume and uniformity requirements. This is one of the main reasons why most economical cocoa goods come from Africa. As a result, different blends and mixes emerge to differentiate themselves, although the flavour profile is seldom improved.
If you can locate a smaller cocoa distributor, you will most likely be pleasantly surprised. They frequently trade chocolate from a more varied grower who can give a richer flavour profile with lower overhead, resulting in better taste consistency at a lower cost.
As a result, in this industry, brand recognition and company scale are not strong indicators of the greatest cocoa product at the most reasonable price.
The many components of the cocoa bean are broken down and utilised to make a variety of products, including cocoa butter, cocoa powder, and cocoa liquor.
Cocoa Butter – This is made up mostly of the oils removed from the bean during processing. Cocoa Butter is a common component in cosmetic soaps and creams and is used in the production of chocolate.
Cocoa powder is the most widely used and diversified substance derived from the cocoa bean. Cocoa powder is a versatile ingredient that may be used in a variety of dishes. Cocoa powder is frequently used in foods that have a chocolate taste. Cocoa powder is classified as Natural or Alkalized depending on the processing method (Dutch). Inherent processed cocoa powder keeps the natural acidity of the cocoa bean, giving it a stronger chocolate taste and is best coupled with baking soda as a leavening agent.
Alkalized (Dutch) cocoa powder undergoes an acid reduction procedure, resulting in a much smoother and mellower flavour. It works best when used with baking powder as a leavening ingredient.
Cocoa Liquor – Is a solid mass made up primarily of the other two ingredients. When combined with other components, it produces chocolate, fudge, and other confections. Although it is not a frequently used component, it is utilised in major chocolate factories.
Consider all of your alternatives before making a decision on cocoa goods. Don’t assess a corporation based on its name or size, but rather on its fragrance and testing. You could discover that it produces a superior product at a lower cost.
Also Read Cocoa Beans Have A Long History