Friday, March 11, 2011

Chocolate 201- the passion behind dark chocolate

Chocolate 201- the passion behind dark chocolate

Chocolate 201- the passion behind dark chocolate | Exotic Chocolate Tasting

Chocolate-greenplateAmericans are catching up to what Europeans have known for decades – dark chocolate is a sign of a discriminating palate. Not the anonymous chocolate that you find in the candy isle or in your Easter basket. Dark chocolate U. S. sales exceeded 5 billion last year and there is no end in sight. At Exotic Chocolate Tasting you will start your journey to discover the benchmark in today’s chocolate…the worlds best chocolates.

Let’s start from the beginning… Theobroma cacao – Theos, god. Broma, food. “The food of the gods” the scientific name. Around 1300BC, the Olmecs of the Gulf Coast called it Kakawa; today we call it cocoa or cacao.

A fruit that can only be grown in the 20/20 zone of the shaded and wet rain forests, migrated from the Amazon basin to Africa and Asia by way of the Spaniards discovery of the new world. A frothy drink for the Maya and Aztecs, a divine food reserved for the rulers, worship, births, sacrifices and funerals, Montezuma drank 50 cups a day! So valuable the beans were used as currency and certain death to any commoner that drank it.

Over the centuries, blights wiped out plantations; wars were fought over trade routs and regions. Small pox killed natives that farmed the lands that lead to slaves brought from Africa. Spain met with competition from Portugal, England, France and the Dutch that all wanted a finger in the chocolate sauce. All this activity had tremendous consequences to this day. A third world crop is “fair” game to exploit the land, its people and the manipulation of the bean itself for better and for worse.

Present day, Fair Trade and Direct Trade has brought positive change to small-scale farmers and the rain forests, this represents less than 10% of the global cocoa market. Entrepreneurial spirited American chocolate makers are making a difference by working directly with these farmers to bring you the superior chocolate that Europeans have enjoyed for years.

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