Welcome to our journey of exploration! Today we are on the trail of Theobroma Cacao – the scientific name for chocolate. Theobroma is Latin for Food of the Gods, and whoever came up with that name knew what they were talking about.
Theobroma Cacao is actually a tropical fruit, so when you are told to each your fruits and vegetables, ask for chocolate! Chocolate is made from the seeds or beans of this amazing fruit. Like almost any fruit, Theobroma Cacao comes in varieties, and each variety has a unique taste.
As a tropical fruit, chocolate can grow only in the region 20 degrees north or south of the equator. Unfortunately, that means we can’t grow our own chocolate here in North Carolina. Only one state is far enough south to grow cacao. Can you guess which one? It’s Hawaii.
When the cacao is ripe, the fruit pods are cut from the trees, opened, and the beans scooped out into bins. Wild yeast in the air causes the sugary fruit pulp around the beans to ferment, cleaning up the beans and beginning the transformation of their flavor. The beans are then dried, bagged, and shipped around the world.
The beans we use come from the Dominican Republic, from a fair-trade cooperative that uses organic farming practices. Our work begins when the beans arrive here at our factory.
The beans Black Mountain Chocolate uses in our bean-to-bar cocoa production comes from a Fair-Trade Co Op in Monte Plata, a village in the Dominican Republic. Using single-origin beans ensures that our chocolate is consistent, and has the flavor profile we are seeking. We are proud to participate in Fair Trade Cacao farming practices, we are one of only 5% of chocolate producers in the world that do so!
This video from our cocoa supplier KahKow, features a day in the life of Sijo, one of the farmers on the Cacao plantation where we source our beans.
Learn more about the importance of Fair Trade Cocao in a video from EqualExchange
FUN FACT- Did you know there is a mature Cocao tree in the Aviary at the NC Zoo? Check out this video from the Asheville Zoo ZOO EDventures!
Skip to 31:15 for the Cacao Tree, but this video is CHOC-full of fun, with info on all kinds of tropical plants like vanilla, black pepper, coffee, and guava!