Ah! Chocolate – food of the gods

Now to my favourite part about chocolate, the food of the Gods. The difference between the best and the not so good chocolate depends on the variety of cocoa beans used and two main groups are recognised, the “fine or flavour” cocoa beans, and “bulk or ordinary” beans. Generally fine or flavour cocoa beans are produced from Criollo or Trinitario cocoa-tree varieties, with the criollo, the prima donna of the lot, producing the highest quality chocolate. The bulk or ordinary cocoa beans come from the Forastero trees and go into making our mass-produced chocolate. Only 20% are produced from the Criollo and the Trinitario varieties as these plants are not as strong nor do they produce as many beans in each pod as the Forastero.

I am including this image that was sent by Darin Sukha from the cocoa research institute at the University of the West Indies and this shows the variation of the cacao varieties.

Cacao bean varieties from the white or ivory Criollo to the variably coloured Trinitario and the pale or deep purple Forastero.

Peru is recognised by the International Cocoa organisation as one of the 14 countries exporting “fine or flavour” cocoa beans so the country does produce the good variety. But as they sell for a higher price they are most likely exported and the chocolate made for the home market probably produced from the bitter-tasting forastero beans which needs more sugar and other ingredients to disguise this.