I have a sweet spot for chocolate because I’m from Belgium and that’s where we invented the French frites, the Belgian waffles, the mussels and the chocolate …
In France, I never found a chocolate bar which was worth the calories … So I was importing my chocolate from Belgium every time I went back home …
Recently, I was introduced to this little brand called Claudio Corallo, the name of a little producer of cocoa beans in Africa (São Tomé island) and it was a revelation.
Nothing looks more like a chocolate bar than another chocolate bar, so you thought! So, I contacted Claudio Corallo and asked him some key questions that we, chocolate lovers, have on the tip of our tongue …
Meet Claudio, a little producer of great chocolate who cultivates with love its cocoa beans to make the best cocoa peebles in the world!
What’s a good chocolate? How can we see the difference with “regular” chocolate?
To cultivate and transform chocolate and coffee is my job since very long time. Especially in the world of chocolate I often noted a kind of fogginess, a lack of transparency that benefits to some but certainly not the consumer who actually does not really know what he is buying.
Moreover, the nomenclatures and standards are built in a way that blurs the situation, and once again especially the consumer. For example, a 100% can be 100% white chocolate, but white chocolate does not contain one single gram of chocolate. You see?
So lets specify that from here on we only speak about 100% cacao + sugar + eventually some cacao butter. Only this is chocolate. The rest is confectionary or chocolate-based cake.
Here are some questions of common sense that, as an agronomist, I’d like to suggest you:
- Is it possible to produce great chocolate with mediocre cocoa beans?
- Have you ever tasted and compared different roasted and peeled cocoa beans?
- Do you know what is and how tastes a pure 100%, meaning a 100% produced only from roasted, peeled and crushed cocoa beans, without adding or removing anything?
What’s the best chocolate?
The best way to understand the quality of chocolate is to do a very simple test: try chocolate diluted in water.
The water will amplify the qualities and defaults. It helps a lot in the understanding of the product and you can do it with any chocolate.
How to proceed:
- Take 100g of 75% Chocolate
- Break it into smaller pieces
- Pour 250g of boiling water over it
- Toss the mixture with a fork
- When the chocolate is all melted, make it uniform with a hand blender
Taste-it, and you’ll see if you like it
How can a good chocolate contribute to a good health?
There has been some serious research done regarding chocolate and it’s influence on health. I suggest reading these two articles (magazine Aqua, October 2007, in Italian) & (Reasearch study published in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine, in English) for a better and more serious understanding of the subject (read the article in the Nederlands Journal of Medecine).
How should we eat chocolate to enjoy it the best?
I think that the best way to understand a natural product, may it be chocolate, olive oil, wine or whatsoever, is to empty your thoughts, to expect unexpected flavours, to take time to feel and enjoy and not to stop the tasting at the first impression on the palate, often treacherous.
Let behind you the very misleading influence of marketing and advertising that only aim to influence your opinion. Make up your own one.
How should chocolate be stored to keep its freshness and great taste?
In general, always keep the chocolate in a temperate and dry place (but not in the fridge). This is the best way to preserve your chocolate for a longer period.
Regarding our chocolate, I always have a small stock of chocolate, which rarely stays longer than two months, in my house on the Terreiro Velho plantation on Principe Island. The average temperature there is 27°C (tropical climate) and humidity is quite high, therefore our chocolate keeps an ideal texture.
Now we know what chocolate with a big C should be, the world of sweetness will never be the same anymore. Thanks Claudio for this interesting discussion.
After some tastings, my favorite is the 100% and also the roasted cocoa beans!!
More about Claudio Corallo and his chocolate