"When people ask why our chocolate is so good and so different from all the others, it seems natural and healthy to ask them to try the beans we produce"
Natural products should have a clear link between the aromas of the original fruit and their final product
The pruning of the trees, the harvesting, the fermentation process, the drying and ultimately the care in the roasting, all adds up to the best possible product. The combination of this extreme care and our unique working methods produces the beans that contain the life and perfume of freshly picked cacao.
Around 60% of the quality of the final product is determined by the work done before the roasting of the dried bean.
Roasting is a risky operation, because it is during this phase that the chocolate's aroma is developed. The tiniest error in time or temperature can ruin all the previous work. When roasting coffee, a color change is one of the indications that tip you off as to timing. But with cacao, roasted in their tegument, there is no color change, thus no tip-off.
A low temperature and a long roasting time "take away happiness from the cacao". If temperatures are just a little too high or the time just a moment too short it will have a rough flavor. It was not an easy process to get it perfect. But with a lot of hard labor we succeeded!
We do not want olive oil that doesn't smell of olives and we do not want wine that bears no resemblance to the original grapes. Yet, people accept so often that chocolate has so many aromas added that is has lost all links to the perfume of the cocoa beans.
For those who love the purity of flavors: to taste our beans is like a journey through the scents of the plantations.
Tasting the pureness of our beans it is easy to understand the alive taste of our chocolate.
WHow to eat a cocoa bean, hold the bean between your thumb and index finger. Push it down lightly onto a hard surface. You'll see the darker tegument fall away from the roundest part of the bean. Throw it away, as well as the bitter root.
Pop the bean into your mouth to enjoy.
Lat. 1° 36' 00 N
Lat. 7° 25' 00 E
Principe Island - The descendants of these first trees are now the mainstay of the cacao production on the Terreiro Velho plantation. When Claudio first came to the plantation of Terreiro Velho, the cacao plants were dispersed in the invading forest. Through years of hard work, the rainforest ground was cleared and the shade trees were replanted. By giving the cacao plants air and just the right amount of light they gained new vigor, producing healthy and abundant fruit. The perfume of their pulp was intense and fresh, as if thanking us for their refound live.
Claudio Corallo pruning the cacao trees in Terreiro Velho, Prìncipe Island
The view from Terreiro Velho, Prìncipe Island
Lat. 0° 16' 60 N
Lat. 6° 37' 60 E
Sao Tomé Island - The plantation of Nova Moca is where the different Arabica coffee varieties are grown. But it is also the place where the dried beans from Principe arrive. The beans are weighed, checked, organized by harvest and stored in our dehumidified storage area.
Claudio's coffee and cacao are produced on the tiny volcanic islands of Sao Tome and Principe, the second smallest country in Africa.
Until the 1800's cacao was only produced in Latin America. In the early years of the 1800's Portugal realized that it would soon loose Brasil as a colony. King Dom Joao VI wanted to save the income Portugal derived from the cacao and decreed that the famous cacao plants of the Bahia region would be transported to its most serene colony, Sao Tome and Principe.
In 1819, the first trees arrived on the island of Principe. By 1900 Sao Tome and Principe was the world's biggest cacao producer. However, more recently the old varieties of trees were replaced by more productive modern hybrids. Luckily, tiny Principe was overlooked and forgotten.
This is how the precious original cacao managed to survive.