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Issue 33: Chocolate made at Origin at Salon du Chocolat
Happy Holidays!! I hope you are all having wonderful, relaxing, good chocolate filled rest days. I have a moment of calm today, so I thought I’d share with you some more interviews from Salon du Chocolate. I’ve posted two posts so far on this. One is an overview of the Bean to Bar Chocolate movement in France and another is an introduction to the Salon du Chocolate with lots of tips on visiting.
Today I’m going to introduce you to some of the chocolate makers that I met that are making chocolate in the countries where the cocoa is grown and processed. Most chocolate is not made in cocoa growing countries…but this is changing…slowly.
This interview is with Lea from Menakao, a family company in Madagascar based in Ambohidratrimo that turns Madagascar cocoa beans into chocolate. The family, originally from India, settled in Madagascar five generations ago. I really enjoyed the chocolates I tried. The packaging is also stunning. Designed by a local artists, each one illustrates the faces of the different ethnic groups that represent the Malagasy people, who are very little known. They had a very interesting bar with 62% dark and combava peel (a type of lime) and pink berries.
This interview (in French) introduces Chocolat Nya Mboa, a chocolate maker that uses 100% Cameroon chocolate made in Cameroon. It is made by the Society Commercial et de Transformation de Cacao (SOCTRACAO), a business that transforms cacao into cocoa butter and powder. If you can understand French, the SOCTRACAO website has lots of information about cocoa production in Cameroon.
I didn’t find Ayitika Terroirs de Cacao, they found me. Luckily, one of the representatives saw me interviewing other makers and brought me to discover this chocolate, which was hidden in a far off corner of the Salon that I hadn’t even realised was there. They offer three single varietal bars which isn’t something you often see (cacao is pretty promiscuous so varietals mix constantly). One bar is Criollo, one a mix of Criollo and Amelonado and the third a blend of Contamana and Amelonado.
Le Chocolatier Ivoirien makes chocolate in Ivory Coast using locally produced beans. Maker Axel Emmanuel is an ex banker turned chocolate maker and his approach has been highlighted in several shows and documents, including Netflix’s Rotten. He also makes beautiful chocolate mask that were exhibited throughout the Salon.
Tribal Chocolate started as an experiment to make chocolate from beans grown and processed on the family farm in Ucayali but has grown from there to include other beans from regions across the country including Piura, Cusco and Curimana. Tribar has won many awards for its chocolate. My favourite was the Ucayali.
Ukaw Chocolate is making chocolate in Peru from Peruvian beans. If you are fortunate to be visiting Lima, you can visit their cafe to taste a range of cacao based dishes, drinks and desserts. The chocolate bars feature a range of flavours from the Amazon including nuts, passionfruit, mango, platoon and pineapple. (Interview in Spanish)
Pure Chocolate Company is a Jamaican company started in 2017 by two talented pastry chefs/chocolatiers. The packaging features art work by talented young local artists. They source cacao from several farmers in Jamaica to make a range of bars including several with interesting inclusions (lemongrass, coconut, and even one with jerk Seasoning!)
Siamaya chocolate is a crazy (good!) chocolate maker in Thailand using Thai beans. They use a range of local fruits and spices in their flavoured chocolate (think peanut curry, durian, coffee and pomelo, mango and chilli..). They also offer factory and chocolate making tours in Chiang Mai.
Auro Chocolate is a tree to bar chocolate company in the Philippines that is working with farmers in country to produce a line of chocolate bars. They have a range of programmes with cocoa farmers, such as organic conversions. The dark milks were beautiful.
Color Cacao is a fantastic project/chocolate company in Colombia. They work with small producers that have replaced illicit crops with cacao and create a range of bars that tell the story of these different producers.
This Week’s Hot Chocolate News
I’ve been reading The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz. It includes information on many fermented foods. Even though it doesn’t including cacao (which yes, is fermented), it has been a fascinating trip into a world I knew little about.
Blink and you miss it smoked hot chocolate
Pairing wine and chocolate (in Spanish)
A sad ranking of hot chocolates based on number of calories (not taste, ingredients etc. and all that other important stuff)
YouGovAmerica surveyed Americans and found that hot chocolate is the nations favourite holiday drink.
Lauren Heineck interviews Kathryn Laverick of Cocoa Encounters
As temperatures drop in the northern hemisphere, the lists of best spots to get hot chocolates grow.
And, most importantly, hot chocolate brunette hair is trending for winter, according to Glamour…
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Thanks for reading and have a great week!