zaterdag 30 juli 2011


Cacao, relatively to the size of the tree, may be planted very closely.
We have stated that it rejoices in a close, moistnre-laden atmosphere, and
this permits of a closer planting than -would be admissible with any other
orchard crop.
In very rich soil the strong-growing Forastero variety may be planted
3.7 meters apart each way, or 745 trees to the hectare, and on lighter
lands this, or the more dwarf-growing forms of Criollo, may be set as
close as 3 meters or rather more than 1,000 trees to the hectare.
The rows should be very carefully lined out in one direction and staked
where the young plants are to be set, and then (a year before the final
planting) between each row of cacao a line of temporary shelter plants
are to be planted. These should be planted in quincunx order, i. e., at the
intersecting point of two lines drawn between the diagonal corners of the
square made by four cacaos set equidistant each way. This temporary
shelter is indispensable for the protection of the young plantation from
wind and sun.
The almost universal custom is to plant, for temporary shelter, suckers
of fruiting bananas, but throughout the Visayas and in Southern Luzon
I think abaca could be advantageously substituted. It is true that, as
commonly grown, abaca does not make so rank a growth as some of the
plantains, but if given the perfect tillage which the cacao plantation
should receive, and moderately rich soils, abaca ought to furnish all necessary shade.
This temporary shade may be maintained till the fourth or fifth year, when it is to be grubbed out and the stalks and stumps, which
are rich in nitrogen, may be left to decay upon the ground. At present
prices, the four or five crops which mjy be secured from the temporary
shelter plants ought to meet the expenses of the entire plantation until it
comes into bearing.
In the next step, every fourth tree in the fourth or fifth row of cacao
may be omitted and its place filled by a permanent shade tree.
The planting of shade trees or "madre de cacao" among the cacao has been observed from time immemorial in all countries where the crop is grown, and the primary purpose of the planting has been for shade alone.
Observing that these trees were almost invariably of the pulse or legume family, the writer, in the year 1892, raised the question, in the Proceedings of the Southern California Horticultural Society,
that the probable benefits derived were directly attributable to the abundant fertilizing microorganisms developed in the soil by these leguminous plants, rather than the mechancial protection they afforded from the sun's rays.

The biggest cacao-producing area in the country is Southern Mindanao, particularly Davao, followed by CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), particularly Quezon and Cavite.

To Mr. 0. F. Cook, of the United States Department of Agriculture,
however, belongs the credit of publishing, in 1901,' a resume of his inquiries into the subject of the shades used for both the coffee and the
cacao, and which fully confirmed the previous opinions that the main
benefit derived from these trees was their influence in maintaining a constant supply of available nitrogen in the soil.
That cacao and its wild congenors naturally seek the shelter of wellshaded
forests is well established; but having seen trees in these Islands
that were fully exposed at all times showing no evidences of either scali,
burn, or sun spot, and in every respect the embodiment of vigor and
health, we are fully justified in assuming that here the climatic conditions are such as will permit of taking some reasonable liberties with this time-honored practice and supply needed nitrogen to the soil by the use of cheap and effective "catch crops, such tis cowpeas or soy beans.
Here, as elsewhere, an Erythrina, known as "dap-dap," is a favorite
shade tree among native planters; the rain tree (Pithecolohium saman)
is also occasionally used, and in one instance only have I seen a departure
from the use of the Leguminosse, and that in western Mindanao, there is
a shade plantation composed exclusively of Cananga odorata, locally
known as ilang-ilang.

Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata) is a large evergreen tropical tree of the Annonaceae family, which grows to 100 ft. in height. It has drooping branches and yellow, long-petaled flowers whose fragrance can be smelled from a distance of 30 ft. or more. It originated in Indonesia and is widely distributed in Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and the Polynesian islands.

While not yet prepared to advocate the total exclusion of all shade
trees, I am prepared to recommend a shade tree, if shade trees there must
be, whose utility and unquestioned value has singularly escaped notice.
The tree in question, the Royal Ponciana (Poinciana regia), embodies
all of the virtues that are ascribed to the best of the pulse family, is easily procured, grows freely and rapidly from seed or cutting, furnishes a minimum of shade at all times, and, in these Islands, becomes almost leafless at the season of maturity of the largest cacao crop when the greatest sun exposure is desired.
The remaining preparatory work consists in the planting of intersecting
wind breaks at intervals throughout the grove, and upon sides exposed
to winds, or where a natural forest growth does not furnish such a
shelter belt. Unless the plantation lies in a particularly protected valley,no plantation, however large in the aggregate, should cover more than 4 or 5 hectares unbroken by at least one row of wind-break trees. Nothing that I know of can approach the mango for this purpose. It will hold in check the fiercest gale and give assurance to the grower that after any storm his cacao crop is still on the trees and not on the ground, a prey to ants, mice, and other vermin.


zondag 24 juli 2011


It is always desirable to select a site that is approximately level or with
only enough fall to assure easy drainage. Such sites may be planted symmetrically and are susceptible to the easiest and most economical application of the many operations connected vvith a plantation.
Provided the region is well forested and therefore protected from sea
breezes, the plantation may be carried very near to the coast, provided the
elevation is sufficient- to assure the grove immunity from incursions of
tide water, which, however much diluted, will speedily cause the death of
the plants.
Excavations should be made during the dry season to determine that
water does not stand within IJ meters of the surface, a more essential
condition, however, when planting is made "at stake^' than when nursery
reared trees are planted.
Hillsides, when "not too precipitous, frequently offer admirable shelter
and desirable soils, but their use entails n rather more complicated system
of drainage, to carry away storm water without land washing, and for the
ready conversion of the same into irrigating ditches during the dry season.
Further, every operation involved must be performed by hand labor, and
in the selection of such a site the planter must be largely influenced by the quantity and cost of available labor.
The unexceptionable shelter, the humidity that prevails, and the inexhaustible supply of humus that is generally found in deep forest ravines frequently lead to their planting to cacao where the slope is even as great as 45°. Such plantations, if done upoji a considerable commercial scale, involve engineering problems and the careful terracing of each tree, and, except for a dearth of more suitable locations, is a practice that has little to commend it to the practical grower.

Other things being equal, preference should be given to a not too tenacious, clayey loam. Selection, in fact, may be quite successfully made
through the process of exclusion, and by eliminating all soils of a very
light and sandy nature, or clays so tenacious that the surface bakes and
cracks while still too wet within 3 or 4 inches of the surface to operate
with farm tools. These excluded, still leave a very wide range of silt,
clay, and loam soils, most of which are suitable to cacao culture.
Where properly protected from the wind a rocky soil, otherwise good,
is not objectionable; in fact, such lands have the advantage of promoting
good drainage.
Picture: Adi Chocolate Fiji

When the plantation is made upon forest lands, it is necessary to cut
and burn all underbrush, together with all timber trees other than those
designed for shade. If such shade trees are left (and the advisability of
leaving them will be discussed in the proper place), only those of the
pulse or bean family are to be recommended. It should also be remembered
that, owing in part to the close planting of cacao and in part to
the fragility of its wood and its great susceptibility to damage resulting
from wounds, subsequent removal of large shade trees from the plantation
is attended with difficulty and expense, and the planter should leave
few shade trees to the hectare. Clearing the land should be done during
the dry season, and refuse burned in situ, thereby conserving to the soil
the potash salts so essential to the continued well-being of cacao.
The land should be deeply plowed, and, if possible, subsoiled as well,
and then, pending the time of planting the orchard, it may be laid down
to corn, cotton, beans, or some forage plant. Preference should be given
to ^Tioed crops," as it is essential to keep the surface in open tilth, as well as to destroy all weeds.
The common practice in most cacao-growing countries is to simply dig
deep holes where the trees are to stand, and to give a light working to the
rest of the surface just sufficient to produce the intermediate crops. This
custom is permissible only on slopes too steep for the successful operation
of a side hill plow, or where from lack of draft animals all cultivation
has to be done by hand.
Cacao roots deeply, and with relatively few superficial feeders, and the
deeper the soil is worked the better.

The number and size of the drains will depend upon the amount of
rainfall, the contour of the land, and the natural absorbent character of
the soil. In no case should the ditches be less than 1 meter wide and 60
cm. deep, and if loose stones are at hand the sloping sides may be laid
with them, which will materially protect them from washing by torrential
These main drains should all be completed prior to planting. Connecting
laterals may be opened subsequently, as the necessities of further
drainage or future irrigation may demand ; shallow furrows will generally
answer for these laterals, and as their obliteration will practically follow
every time cultivation is given, their construction may be of the cheapest
and most temporary nature. Owing to the necessity of main drainage
canals and the needful interplanting of shade plants between the rows of
cacao, nothing is gained by laying oif the land for planting in what is
called "two ways," and all subsequent working of the orchard will consequently
be in one direction.



vrijdag 22 juli 2011


Asia became the 1st recipient of cacáo outside its American homelands. Accounts vary but starting in the latter half of the 17th century, a Spanish galleon transported pure Mesoamerican Criollo across the Pacific to the Philippines. Many place the date at 1663; others 1666. The oldest documented record, however, is 1670: a single plant leaving from the port of Acapulco, Mexico. Once safely harbored in The Philippines, cacáo began its global journey, moving farther westward & onward.

Principle routes of cacáo movement:

Chocolate Sourced from the Philippines

Cacao in cultivation exists nearly everywhere in the Archipelago. I
have observed it in several provinces of Luzon, in Mindanao, Jolo, Basilan,
Panay, and Negros, and have well-verified assurances of its presence
in Cebu, Bohol, and Masbate, and it is altogether reasonable to predicate
its existence upon all the larger islands anywhere under an elevation of
1,000 or possibly 1,200 meters. Nevertheless, in many localities the condition
of the plants is such as not to justify the general extension of cacao
cultivation into all regions. The presence of cacao in a given locality is
an interesting fact, furnishing a useful guide for investigation and agricultural
experimentation, but, as the purpose of this paper is to deal with
cacao growing from a commercial standpoint, it is well to state that
wherever reference is made t6 the growth, requirements, habits, or cultural
treatment of the plant the commercial aspect is alone considered.
As an illustration, attention is called to the statement made elsewhere,
that "cacao exacts a minimum temperature of 18°"; although, as is perfectly
well known to the writer, its fruit has sometimes matured where
the recorded temperatures have fallen as low as 10°. There is much to be
learned here by experimentation, for as yet the cultivation is primitive in
the extreme, pruning of any kind rudimentary or negative, and "treatment"
of the nut altogether unknown.
Elsewhere in cacao-producing countries its cultivation has long passed
the experimental stage, and the practices that govern the management of
a well-ordered cacao plantation are as clearly defined as those of an orange grove in Florida or a vineyard in California.
In widely scattered localities the close observer will find many young
trees that in vigor, color, and general health leave nothing to be desired,
but before making final selection for a plantation he should inspect trees
of larger growth for evidences of "die back" of the branches. If "die
back" is present, superficial examinatio]i will generally determine if it is caused by neglect or by the attacks of insects. If not caused by neglect or insect attacks, he may assume that some primary essential to the continued and successful cultivation of the tree is wanting and that the location is unsuited to profitable plantations.
With due regard to these preliminary precautions and a close oversight
of every subsequent operation, there is no reason why the growing of
cacao may not ultimately become one of the most profitable horticultural
enterprises that can engage the attention of planters in this Archipelago.

Choco-late de Batirol

It is customary, when writing of any crop culture, to give precedence
to site and soil, but in the case of cacao these considerations are of secondary importance, and while none of the minor operations of planting, pruning, cultivation, and fertilizing may be overlooked, they are all outweighed by the single essential climate.
In general, a state of atmospheric saturation keeps pace with heavy
rainfall, and for that reason we may successfully look for the highest relative
humidity upon the eastern shores of the Archipelago, where the rainfall
is more uniformly distributed over the whole year, than upon the west.
There are places where the conditions are so peculiar as to challenge
especial inquiry. We find on the peninsula of Zamboanga a recorded annual
mean rainfall of only 888 mm., and yet cacao (unirrigated) exhibits
exceptional thrift and vigor. It is true that this rain is so evenly distributed throughout the year that every drop becomes available, yet the Total rainfall is insufficient to account for the very evident and abundant atmospheric humidity indicated by the prosperous conditions of the cacao plantations.
The explanation of thise phenomenon, as made to me by the Rev.
Father Algue, of the Observatory of Manila, is to the effect that strong
equatorial ocean currents constantly prevail against southern Mindanao,
and that their influence extend north nearly to the tenth degree of latitude.
These currents, carrying their n.cisture-laden atmosphere, would
naturally affect the whole of this narrow neck of land and influence as
well some of the western coast of Mindanao, and probably place it upon
the same favored hygrometric plane as the eastern coast, where the rainfall
in some localities amounts to 4 meters a year.
While 2,000 mm. of mean annual rainfall equably distributed is ample
to achieve complete success, it seems almost impossible to injure cacao by
excessive piecipitation. It has been known to successfully tide over inundation of the whole stem up to the first branches for a period covering
nearly a month.
Irrigation must be resorted to in cases of deficient or unevenly distributed rainfall, and irrigation is always advantageous whenever there is suspension of rain for a period of more than fifteen days.
Concerning temperatures the best is that with an annual mean of 26°
to 28°, with 20° as the mean minimum where any measure of success may
be expected. A mean temperature of over 30° is prejudicial to cacao
The last but not least important of the atmospheric phenomena for our
consideration are the winds. Cacao loves to "steam and swelter in its own
atmosphere" and high winds are inimical, and even refreshing breezes are
incompatible, with the greatest success. As there are but few large areas \
in these Islands that are exempt from one or other of our prevailing "
winds, the remedies that suggest themselves are : The selection of small
sheltered valleys where the prevailing winds are directly cut off by intervening hills or mountains; the plantation of only small groves in the
open, and their frequent intersection by the plantation of rapid growing
trees; and, best of all, plantings made in forest clearings, where the remaining forested lands will furnish the needed protection.

Source: S.LYON,IN


dinsdag 19 juli 2011

...make the chocolate world a better place.

A few weeks ago I did have a nice visit from an Australian girl who wanted to start a chocolateshop in Colombia, Bogota.
She knows wath she is doing and I really hope she succeed in her mission, succes and nothing less, Suzie.
Thanks for your friendship and you're beeing here in Belgium with me for a short, to short stay!

The Art of Tasting Chocolate

Chocolate Vercruysse   Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 9:25AM

Geert Vercruysse is strange for a chocolatier. He really knows his chocolate.
This is not to say that your local chocolatier doesn't care about their product, they do, and they may even use the only the finest ingredients that they claim. But most chocolatiers buy all of their couverture from a single supplier, and there are not that many suppliers out there. Their concern is about the creativity and quality of their fillings, but not so much about the chocolate that surrounds them.
Upon arriving at the Patisserie Vercruysse workshop in Kortrijk Belgium, Geert took me to his cellar to show me his collection of couvertures. A few years ago, a little bored by his couverture supplier, Geert began experimenting with different chocolate. Nowadays he uses dozens of different brands in his creations, and if he finds a chocolate he likes that doesn't come in bulk couverture, he uses their bars! That's like your local baker making their loaves from 1kg bags of flour from the gourmet food store.
In the display cabinet in his shop, each of his chocolates is described not only by its flavouring but also by the chocolate used. It takes a very refined palate, a major curiosity and a lot of patience to bother pairing a particular chocolate with a flavour of filling, which is what sets Geert apart from most chocolatiers.

A dark & milk chocolate ganache with a layer of marzipan covered in Casa Luker single-origin 65% couverture from the Huila region of Colombia

The Patisserie Vercruysse chocolate cabinet

On my second day in Geert's workshop, perhaps after proving my dedication to this sacred substance, Geert busted out his private collection! It was like a gourmet chocolate Piñata — I have never tasted so many different brands of chocolate in a single sitting! A truly amazing experience was tasting chocolate made from beans from a single plantation in Vietnam, but processed into chocolate by two different brands. 

 Two chocolates, one beans.
One was lively, fruity and acidic whilst the other was reminiscent of an ashtray. Over-roasted perhaps? All up I've spent a month working in chocolate making workshops where the producer starts with a bean, but never have I experienced so clearly how the decisions of the chocolate maker affect the experience of eating the final product.

Geert is a generous being and shares his chocolate discoveries regularly, conducting chocolate tastings in his home for clients and passing chocolate fans, writing not one, but two chocolate blogs, and posting regular Facebook updates about new chocolate brands, chocolate packaging, cacao cultivation and general chocolate knowledge. Plus he has an enormous collection of chocolate books, many of which I didn't even know had been printed (which is a little worrying considering I wrote my Master's thesis on the subject).
After so much time in the workshops of chocolate makers it was wonderful to see that material put to work in the laboratory of a chocolatier, especially one with such respect for the work of chocolate makers. Geert's curiosity and willingness to experiment make the chocolate world a better place. 

vrijdag 15 juli 2011

COCOA AND CHOCOLATE "Their History from Plantation to Consumer."

(From Ogilvy's America, 1671)


Their History from Plantation to Consumer



B. Sc. (B'ham.), F.I.C., B. Sc. (Lond.)
Member of the Society of Public Analysts; Member of the Society of Chemical Industry; Fellow of the Institute of Hygiene.
Research Chemist to Messrs. Cadbury Bros., Ltd




Although there are several excellent scientific works dealing in a detailed manner with the cacao bean and its products from the various view points of the technician, there is no comprehensive modern work written for the general reader. Until that appears, I offer this little book, which attempts to cover lightly but accurately the whole ground, including the history of cacao, its cultivation and manufacture. This is a small book in which to treat of so large a subject, and to avoid prolixity I have had to generalise. This is a dangerous practice, for what is gained in brevity is too often lost in accuracy: brevity may be always the soul of wit, it is rarely the body of truth. The expert will find that I have considered him in that I have given attention to recent developments, and if I have talked of the methods peculiar to one place as though they applied to the whole world, I ask him to consider me by supplying the inevitable variations and exceptions himself.
The book, though short, has taken me a long time to write, having been written in the brief breathing spaces of a busy life, and it would never have been completed but for the encouragement I received from Messrs. Cadbury Bros., Ltd., who aided me in every possible way. I am particularly indebted to the present Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Mr. W.A. Cadbury, for advice and criticism, and to Mr. Walter Barrow for reading the proofs. The members of the staff to whom I am indebted are Mr. W. Pickard, Mr. E.J. Organ, Mr. T.B. Rogers; also Mr. A. Hackett, for whom the diagrams in the manufacturing section were originally made by Mr. J.W. Richards. I am grateful to Messrs. J.S. Fry and Sons, Limited, for information and photographs. In one or two cases I do not know whom to thank for the photographs, which have been culled from many sources. I have much pleasure in thanking the following: Mr. R. Whymper for a large number of Trinidad photos; the Director of the Imperial Institute and Mr. John Murray for permission to use three illustrations from the Imperial Institute series of handbooks to the Commercial Resources of the Tropics; M. Ed. Leplae, Director-General of Agriculture, Belgium, for several photos, the blocks of which were kindly supplied by Mr. H. Hamel Smith, of Tropical Life; Messrs. Macmillan and Co. for five reproductions from C.J.J. van Hall's book on Cocoa; and West Africa for four illustrations of the Gold Coast.
The photographs reproduced on pages 2, 23, 39, 47, 49 and 71 are by Jacobson of Trinidad, on pages 85 and 86 by Underwood & Underwood of London, and on page 41 by Mrs. Stanhope Lovell of Trinidad.
The industry with which this book deals is changing slowly from an art to a science. It is in a transition period (it is one of the humours of any live industry that it is always in a transition period). There are many indications of scientific progress in cacao cultivation; and now that, in addition to the experimental and research departments attached to the principal firms, a Research Association has been formed for the cocoa and chocolate industry, the increased amount of diffused scientific knowledge of cocoa and chocolate manufacture should give rise to interesting developments.
Birmingham, February, 1920.


here you may read the book online, very interesting.

donderdag 14 juli 2011

The Faerietale Foodie

Chloe Callow her Faerietale foodieblog and me.
Thanks for this nice review Chloe.

Patisserie Vercruysse Selection

The term ‘passionate’ is much over used when describing someone who makes a living from doing what they love (and god knows I’m as much to blame as the next person for it’s over use) hence, it just doesn’t have the impact it perhaps should, but I recently had the fortune to meet a man who is this description incarnate. In fact scrap that, this man is just plain obsessed, with chocolate, full stop. And if you don’t believe me check out his personal blog The man in question is Geert Vercruysse and he is the Belgian chocolatiere and patissier with the business Patisserie Vercruysse.

I had the good fortune to meet Geert at a chocolate tasting evening hosted by Chocolate & Love earlier on this year. The chocolatier had travelled over to London to research our very own chocolate culture and visit our chocolate shops (he seemed totally bemused by our fixation with the salted caramel, saying he was offered one in practically every shop he entered……what? It’s bloody amazing stuff!) and had been roped into coming along by Richard since his trip coincided rather neatly with the evening. He had brought along with him a small selection of his chocolates to sample, and after a taste of several of them I found myself desperate to get hold of a selection of my own to enjoy.
Alas, based in Belgium, his chocolates are currently unnavailable in the UK (although I know he is working on this), but we exchanged emails, kept in touch and before long I discovered he had a small quantity for sale at The Chocolate Festival just prior to Easter. As you can imagine, it didn’t take me long to hunt them down and before long I was reassured to have a small box in my possesion.

I haven’t taken too many pictures as they didn’t travel well and really didn’t enjoy the unnexpected Easter heatwave as much as I did. I’ve been meaning to write about the selection for ages but seeing as you’re not able to get them over here, there seemed no urgency and I’m afraid the post kept getting pushed back to the end of the queue. In fact, I almost didn’t bother writing it at all as I was enjoying the choclates just a little bit too much… Suffice to say they dissappeared months ago and there is nothing left now but my scribbly, chocolate marked notes; but don’t worry, you’ll get the gist…
The reason I’m bothering to write this is they were outstanding; superb, exquisite and every other superlative invented for amazing. Every single little piece bursting in the mouth with individually vibrant flavours. As I explained, those chocolates are distant memories but reading my notes brings them back to the fore. I’ve tasted plenty of ganaches but never ones that quite explode with clarity and depth of well defined flavours like these did; a clear testament to his skill, and dedication to his craft. 

I’ve never been overly fond of the transfer pattern style of chocolate ganaches but they seem to be popular and to be honest I’m getting used to them. They look good, even though mine are obviously slightly battered, but quite generic and certainly don’t belie the delights within. I’m also rather distraught to discover a lack of menu; a real pet hate of mine as it removes a vital ingredient, that for me, is part and parcel of really enjoying a box of chocolates; that of poring over the descriptions and making my informed selections.
But all this is easily forgotten on tasting. Each of the chocolates was beautifully orchestrated; in my selection I was thrilled to taste a delicate lavander praline, exquisite in it’s elegance, sweet and lightly crunchy from the nuts. There was, what I believe, an apricot ganache, silky smooth and dark, it equally surprised and delighted with it’s beautifully fresh and subtle notes. The pistachio praline was unnexpectedly and deliciously sweet and chunky, packed full of gorgeously chewy caramelised nuts, a plain marzipan was ethereally light and almondy. I found amongst the rich and sumptious ganaches floral notes of geranium and another reminiscent of bergamot. Many of the chocolates are dual layered; a chocolate ganache or praline with a strip of praline or marzipan below, I love this contrast of textures and flavours within each piece, and once again the balance is spot on; rich and fruity ganaches tempered by mellow praline and little bursts of salt.         

So, you may not be able to enjoy these yourself just yet, but it’s a name to keep your eyes out for. Geert’s been working closely with ethical chocolate company Original Beans this year, using their outstanding chocolate to create a range of single origin ganaches. I believe it’s these sorts of collaberations that set him apart from other chocolatieres and will keep his product contemporary, and that’s really refreshing in this industry where I find a lot of chocolatieres seem to work in isolation, this I find very exciting!
I believe he’s back in the UK this month, so I for one will be keeping an eye out for any future projects.


maandag 11 juli 2011

Me and Original Beans.

My first Original Beans Chocolates.

Original Bean is an ethical chocolate company producing fantastic tasting bars, they also had for sale boxes of single origin chocolates made for them exclusivly by Geert Vercruysse using their very own chocolate.

This was a great possibility for me to work for Philipp Kauffmann and Original Beans and it worked. Thanks to great a collaboration with Vera Hofmann and friends.

ganache dark Porcelana 75% PIURA RIVER VALLEY
Tasting notes: kumquat, lime, apricot, raspberry, flavors and notes of toasted pecan.

pure ganache CRU VIRUNGA 70%
Zingi with ripe morello cherries steeped in cassis, smoky tobacco and forest floor notes, great smoothness lenght and nuance.

pure ganache 68% BENI WILD HARVEST Tasting notes: sun-dried cranberries, melon, subtle tropical fruit notes, hints of jasmine tea, delicate yet distinct, wonderfully round flavour and long finish.

Visit of Philipp and OB friends at my place july 2011:

I have the feeling we could do much more for each other in the future and have the people the possibility to enjoy our chocolate(s).
Geert  the perfection of making chocolate like a Swiss watch.

Love The Planet: Love Chocolate, Original Beans.

Almost two years ago I first heared about the chocolate brand Original Beans, it was Erik Saüer who shared me some of this fine chocolate. It was some kind of "coup de foudre", love at first bite, you could say.
The packaging, the rarest cacao beans used in there bars, the crisp snap and luscious melt with vived fruit notes. Then I realised this was more than just chocolat, it was somekind of match with farmers'co)ops to preserve the rainforest biodiversity in which the best cacao trees thrive.
So a commitment was born: with each purchase, you contribute to the replenishment of these forests and protect original beans for the future generations.
One bar plants one tree.

WHO IS ORIGINAL BEANS?  Well, the people behind the scenes are an eclectic bunch, that not only share a deep passion for sustainable farming which, for them, is a matter of fact, but relish in the sweet treats of the Tropics and the conservation of our world’s threatened rainforests. Their motto is: “The Planet: Replant It”.

As if inspired by his pioneering forefathers, who back in 1791 wrote “any wise forest management must use the forest in such a way that generations thereafter can draw at least as much advantage from it as the presently living generation has.” And also coined the German term ”Nachhaltigkeit” which translates into sustainability.

So it’s no wonder that Philipp Kauffmann left his UN job in New York to co-found Original Beans in 2008 as a synthesis of his career as an entrepreneur and passionate conservationist. (he is also a really nice guy who actually cares).

WHAT IS  ORIGINAL BEANS?   Original Beans is an award-winning chocolate and conservation company founded on the simple idea that what we consume we must replenish. For every bar you buy, local cocoa farmers plant one tree that can be tracked on Original Beans engages consumers to join in direct rainforest conservation … after you have fallen in love with one of the world’s finest chocolates.      

WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?   Each bar of Original Beans begins with original cacaos of the forests of Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and DR Congo. The one-of-a-kind recipes are developed directly from the distinct flavour profile of the particular cacao bean. Roasted in small batches and then conch the covertures on centuries old machines in Switzerland, sometimes for several days—all to preserve the rich taste and terroir of the original cacao.

The company infuses the principles of quality and traceability through every phase of the supply cycle and chocolate production. All cocoa beans are fair-trade (direct-trade, actually) and organic certified. Original Beans packaging is 100% biodegradable and can be composted. The product lifecycle is monitored to minimize and offset any climate effects caused in production through direct replanting efforts. Original Beans strives to become the first certified climate-friendly chocolate company by 2011.

War, Gorillas & Great Chocolate by Philipp Kauffman                               

maandag 4 juli 2011

Tasting Empire: Chocolate and the European Internalization of Mesoamerican Aesthetics

Marcy Norton is an Assistant Professor in the History Department at George Washington University. She is completing a book on the histories of tobacco and chocolate between 1492 and 1700, forthcoming from Cornell University Press in 2007. She will continue investigating the intersections of culture and nature in her next project, which concerns dogs and people in the early modern world.
When the Spanish and Portuguese arrived in the Americas, the inhabitants there made a cacao liquor which was diluted in hot water seasoned with pepper and other spices ... all these ingredients gave this mixture a brutish quality and a very savage taste ... The Spanish, more industrious than the Savages, procured to correct the bad flavor of this liquor, adding to this cacao paste different fragrances of the East and many spices of this country [Spain]. Of all these ingredients we have maintained only the sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Figure 1: Codex Tudela, fol. 3r. From a manuscript painted in New Spain ca. 1553, this image depicts a Nahua woman, of high social rank (as suggested by her fine cloak), frothing chocolate by pouring it from a height. A similar representation of chocolate-frothing occurs on a ceramic piece used for serving chocolate by Maya from the Late Classic period (a.d. 600–900).

Figure 2: Girolamo Benzoni, La Historia del Mondo Nuovo (Venice, 1572), fol. 104v. This engraving, which also appeared in the 1565 edition, depicts Mayan revelers. Although disdainful to Benzoni, chocolate was integral to keeping the Mesoamerican celebrants awake for the nocturnal festivities. In the lower right corner, a figure froths the chocolate.

Figure 3: Codex Mendoza, fol. 47r. Although this manuscript was commissioned and compiled ca. 1541–1542, the tribute lists that it includes are thought to be based on pre-Hispanic prototypes. The loads of cacao and chocolate-drinking vessels were among the items that the Aztec ruler levied from tributaries.

To find out the complete The American Historical Review, click on the link below