Focus on Fine Chocolate
Understanding and recognising
the taste of good chocolate is a journey of exploration
Chocolate is often thought of as a sweet treat and little more. Yet, there is a lot more to chocolate. Like any other product, it ranges from basic to exquisite pending on ingredients and quality, how it is made and – above all - taste.
Although cacao was domesticated thousands of years ago and handmade for most of its history, most chocolate is now produced on industrial scale. The new availability of small scale and affordable machinery in the early 2000s - among other - gave rise to what is now known as the Craft Chocolate Revolution and a revival of the artisanal approach to chocolate making. It also coined the expression ‘Bean-to-Bar’, which mostly refers to the production process from cacao bean to chocolate under one roof, usually by a single or a small team of craft chocolate maker/s.
The hallmarks that makes Craft Chocolate stand out from ‘big chocolate’, (the commodity end of the market), are small batch sizes, the search for quality and different flavours naturally present in the cacao beans. Part of this, and similar to speciality coffee’s development, also focuses on direct trade, transparency, premium procurement models and origin (not just country), cacao varieties and superior processing.
It may surprise that cacao has as many flavour components as coffee, and more than wine. But unlike coffee, cacao does not have a scoring system that classifies it as ‘speciality'. Only 3-5% of global production is estimated as premium fine cacao. Unfortunately, much cacao with fine potential ends as a lesser product or in bulk production due to lack of financial incentive, know-how or facilities for optimum post harvest processes, (fermentation and drying) - and crucially: consumer recognition.
Fortunately, much progress has been made / is happening in this area. So, if received into skillful hands, the best expression of each cacao harvest and individual batches can be coaxed out.
Learning how to taste & appreciate such chocolate is why Chocolate Unpacked was set up: to share the joy of discovery.