From the very beginning let’s set aside the fact that wine contains alcohol. No chance?!!! Than skip this part. No, no, no… Don’t go! Give us a second chance.
Let’s take in account one very clear advantage of chocolate in comparison with wine – one can consume it IN THE MORNING while AT WORK. Of cause, if you are so lucky having a job that allows you to do this with wine you can skip this post completely.
So now we have advantage N1 – IT IS EASY TO CONSUME.
Different types on chocolates, like different types of wines, are made of different types of cocoa beans that are growing in different “cocoa” regions. So let’s start.
There are three main cocoa beans that are used in modern chocolate production. Some mass producers consider so called “vegetable oil”, such as palm oil, to be fourth type of cocoa beans. But this chocolate blog is about real chocolate, not about magic or tricks, so we stick to three major types of cocoa beans: 1) royal Criollo, 2) more common Forastero and 2) product of love between the two - Trinitario.
Criollo & Trinitario belong to aristocratic beans used to produce fine chocolate. Forastero, in it’s turn, always considered being bulk beans for mass production (with some exceptions to the rule). So, if we set aside “vegetable” oil used as cheap diluter to cocoa mass, 90% of chocolate in the world is produced from Forastero beans. Sounds sad, right? Sad but true, though. We are all, including cocoa beans, are the products of natural and social segregation. But the good news is that in case of chocolate we can consciously decide which part of social hierarchy we belong to.
Have you ever heard of fine Arabica coffee beans? This is exactly what Criollo beans to chocolate. Being of almost purple color those beans contain very complex flavours of nuts, vanilla, caramel & tobacco (never eaten the last but will rely on the opinion of the experts). As any royal stuff those guys are rear. So, as in case with wine, is you have a chance try the most expensive one. But be aware, the taste, as in the most cases of royal stuff, is not for everybody. Especially if you are used to more common Trinitario or Forastero chocolate. (No offence. We also have this past.). But bear in mind the fact that if you want to know how THE DARK CHOCOLATE tastes like you need too try bars made of Criollo beans. This is the taste of the very first dark chocolate made in human history. Two hundred years ago it was the only cocoa beans available for chocolate production. The only reason why those cocoa beans are so rear is an extreme vulnerability of Criollo tree toward diseases. This is the reason so little countries with monarchies left, by the way. Only masses of Frosatero and Trinitario can effectively resist global mess. FYI, in the future Criollo cocoa tree will continue to look more and more like Trinitario tree proving further evolutional theory of Darwin. The most important Criollos are Ocumare 61 and well-promoted Chuao both of which are found in not exactly royal Venezuela. Most probably the most well-known Criollo variety is Procelana which is also a citizen of South American cocoa countries like Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru & Colombia.
So, this one is chocolate Robusta. This is the beans which mass-producers of chocolate encourage farmers to grow because they are cheap (especially if prices are controlled) and mediocre. Originally from Amazon region, this segment is dominated by ubiquitous Amenolado found in Brazil and West Africa. There are some fine exertions to the rule represented by Cacao Nacional & Arriba from Ecuador that are used in many of fine chocolates around the world, including Swiss ones. By the way, forastero is “foreigner” in Spanish and criollo is “native” respectively. Now you can see how the world changed during last two hundred years.
Akesson's Barzil Forastero 75% is one of the best examples of high quality forastero beans processed in great dark chocolate.
This story is fascinating like all stories of true love. In 1678 some off-springs of royal Criollo family were sent to Trinidad. They built quite strong representation there but severe disease of 1727 killed almost the whole population of aristocracy that was also weakened by the decades of poor adaptation to local soil and climate. By this time, one of the Criollo youngsters (let’s call him Diego) fell in love with poor Frorastero girl that arrived with some of here family members to Trinidad to make some living helping noble Criollo family to survive. The rest is the history & one more prove of Darwin’s theory. That is how now we have high quality and resistant Trinitario cocoa beans in Madagascar, Cameroon, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Java, Vietnam & Papua New Guinea. With high probability Trinitario can be found in most of the fine dark chocolates today.
List of chocolate made of trinitario cacao beans.
So here we have advantage N2 – YOU CAN DISCUSS COCOA BEANS THE WAY YOU DISCUSS GRAPES.
And finally advantage N3 – CHOCOLATE IS TASTY.
And there is no other way to become professional chocolate “sommelier” than to keep tasting it. So welcome to Hello Chocolate.