Food of the Gods
Chocolate is a very popular delicacy the world over. The original chocolate came in the form of a bitter and spicy drink. It was produced from ground cocoa beans, which were thickened with corn flour, spiced with vanilla, chilli pepper and other ingredients.
The flavour of the chocolate gradually improved and a groundbreaking moment in chocolate production came in the form of an invention by the Dutchman Conrad van Houten, who separated cocoa butter from cocoa powder. Nowadays, chocolate is a common part of our diet. Various types of confectionery are produced from it, ice cream, sweets, biscuits and Christmas confectionery, which is very popular in our country.
Quality of Fino de aroma
Only 6 - 7 % of total world cocoa production can be labelled as “Fino de Aroma”. No mistaking sign of quality of selected cocoa beans processed in the heart of Colombia is their fruity and flowery aroma.
The essentials of Fino de Aroma chocolate is the cocoa mass prepared from the best cocoa beans of FORASTERO, CRIOLLO and TRINITARIO varieties. Total content of cocoa solids in the mass is 71 %. We add the vanilla extract Bourbon-Madagascar to further emphasize its exceptional aroma.
How is made
Cocoa beans grow in large pods on the cocoa plant, Theobroma cacao, an evergreen tree, which thrives in tropical areas that lie between 20 degrees north and 20 degrees south of the equator. This tree is demanding with regards to cultivation conditions – temperature, humidity, wind and sunshine. It very easily succumbs to rot, pathological wilting and fungal diseases and it must also be protected against wild animals, which like to rip at its pods.
The picker can tell that the pod is ready to be harvested by judging the colour of the pod and the sound made when it is tapped. It takes years of practice to be absolutely sure that a pod is ripe and so experienced pickers can charge a high price. Pods are harvested from the tree by being cut at the stalk. The cutting must be performed very carefully so as not to damage the “cauliflory”, because flowers will continue to grow from them and thus also fruit. Harvesting takes place all year round in some countries although the richest harvest is from May to December. In other parts of the world, for example in West Africa, the crop is harvested from September until February.
In the next phase, the pods are carefully cracked open with a machete so as not to damage the valuable beans. These are scooped out together with the surrounding pulp and shaped into conical mounds on a carefully prepared base of banana leaves. When the mound is ready a few gigantic leaves are added to ensure that the mound is well wrapped. Fermentation lasts up to six days and basically they involve bacteria and yeast from the air, multiplying on the sugary pulp around the beans. This leads to the pulp decomposing into an acidic juice. The temperature of the cone increases during this process and under these conditions, magical changes occur in the actual beans. The colour changes from purple to chocolate brown and the familiar cocoa aroma starts to emerge. Despite this, the fermentation process is sometimes omitted and both growers and processors argue for and against this.
After fermentation, the beans are spread out on a rug made from bamboo or on a wooden floor for drying. Over the course of the ten to twelve days required for drying, the beans are regularly turned over to ensure that they have sufficient air and to prevent them going mouldy. In some places with dense rainfall and high humidity, beans are dried in commercial drying factories. However, the highest quality cocoa comes from the beans that were dried naturally in the warm tropical sun.