Now grown, processed and sold all over the globe, much of the chocolate we eat has made an intrepid journey before ending up in our mouths.
For many of us, chocolate is so accessible that it is easy to forget where it comes from.
However, as you delve further into the world of craft chocolate, you’ll learn that thinking more carefully about the bars we consume is the key to making chocolate not just better for you, but for the people who grow and make it. That’s why we at Cocoa Runners have made it easy to explore the origins of our chocolate, and why they are so important:
How did chocolate become global?
Chocolate is made using the seeds of cocoa pods, which are the fruit of cocoa trees, known officially as Theobroma cacao. Theobroma cacao can grow in a variety of locations up to about 20 degrees north and south of the equator, but itis native to the Northern jungles of South America, having first appeared there over ten million years ago.
But today, the world’s largest exporter of cocoa is Ivory Coast, closely followed by Ghana. Europe is where the majority of the world’s chocolate is consumed. How did this come to be?
Craft chocolate is one of the few products with a flavour profile broader than wine. Several factors affect the flavour profile of a bar, and one of the most crucial is where the tree has been grown.
You will often hear us mention the ‘terroir’ of a chocolate bar. Terroir roughly translates from French as ‘sense of place’, and is a term adopted from the wine world, used to denote the effects that the local environment has on chocolate. Everything from the climate to the minerals in the soil dictates flavour, and all good craft makers source their beans accordingly.
As you now know, different parts of the world are known for growing beans with distinct flavour characteristics. Each country also has its own unique history, traditions and habits when it comes to chocolate, and growers and makers face different challenges according to location.
Below you will find links to all our country profiles, to help you better understand the beans behind every bar we sell.
Where it all started. Still the second largest cocoa-growing region, Theobroma cacao is cultivated in most tropical countries in South America.
Ecuador: Attack of the Clones – Read about a recent archaeological discovery, why Ecuador’s signature Arriba Nacional cocoa beans are currently under threat, and what you can do about it.
Colombia: Cocoa, Cadmium and Coca – Why do Colombians like to add cheese to their hot chocolates? And more pressingly, how are Colombia’s other famous natural resources impacting their cocoa industry?
Craft chocolate is all about transparency: craft makers will always tell you where they’ve sourced their beans, and in turn, we think it’s important that we tell you all about our makers! Read our maker profiles here.
We have created a map of all of the makers whose chocolate we sell here at Cocoa Runners. Check it next time you travel, as you may well be able to visit one of their factories or workshops and witness the chocolate-making process for yourself!
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