20 Jul 2015
Chocolates’s distinctive flavour comes from the origin of the cocoa and the way that it is processed following local practices (fermentation & drying) along with the recipe as well as the actual processing.
At Puratos we provide consistent full control & master of the chocolate making process, from the cocoa to the final chocolate, which we call “Bean-to-bar”.
The two first steps are the farming and fermentation.
It all starts with farming.
Vietnam is an ideal place to grow cocoa, combining hot weather and rainfall. The most common cocoa type in the Mekong delta is called Trinitario: a blend of the Fruity Criollo & Intense cocoa Forastero.
Harvesting is a delicate process, always done manually. It is very important not to harm the trunk and the flowers on the tree as those are the next harvest fruits! A farmer can harvest up to 150 pods a day! Main challenges are low profitability, quality and productivity.
Follow more details on how we professionalise the next generation of cocoa farmers with our Cacao-Trace programme and certification. We provide trainings on good agricultural practices and good quality practices, as well as a better price for their work.
The pods or wet beans are sent to Puratos’ collection & post-harvest center in Ben Tre. Each delivery is weighted and analysed for quality purposes. Set criteria have been established yielding the highest quality aromatic profile.
The wet beans are then placed into wooden boxes for fermentation. The wooden boxes are the best way to guarantee a full and consistent fermentation. This step takes roughly five to seven days and requires the pulp to reach 45°C and to be turned multiple times. It is at this specific moment that the aromatic profiles are developed and revealed. Specific criteria have yet again been established to reach its targeted quality aromatic profile.
The last step managed in Ben Tre is the drying. Puratos has selected sun drying as it maintains the highest quality cocoa aroma. A sieve is placed on a cement ground. During the 3 first days, the beans will be turned around every hour, then, only 4 times per day during the next few days. This process, tested and established by Puratos helps to remove the excess moisture. Before bagging the cocoa for storage a cut test is performed. This is the ultimate evaluation against our standards: colour, smell, moisture and presence of defaults are among others checked.
Thanks to this full consistent control & master of the entire process, our cocoa was awarded in 2013 an International Cocoa Award from “Cocoa of Excellence” revealed at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris.
But these are just three of the first steps that make our Chocolanté Gardener of Chocolate a great tasting bean to bar chocolate locally grown.
In the following weeks we will describe the other components which give chocolate its unique taste so stay tuned on Puratos Social Media spaces for more information on this range!