The old history of chocolate is the story of how people forgot where it came from. The recent history is about re-discovering its origins.
What you should know if you visit Ecuador is that, although this country does not produce an especially large amount of cocoa, it does produce the greatest volume of fine or flavor beans in the world.
The term fine or flavor is used by the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) and refers to cocoa beans which have a distinctive flavor, distinguishing them from “bulk” beans. Bulk beans are cocoa varieties that have a chocolate flavor, but lack certain properties or tasting “notes” found in flavor beans, which give a floral and fruity aftertaste.
Flavor beans actually represent a very small percentage of world cocoa production – only five percent. But the majority of those flavor beans – 60 to 70 percent – are grown in Ecuador. In contrast, Ivory Coast grows ten times more cocoa than Ecuador, but none of it is fine or flavor.
Cocoa is currently classified under ten categories or clusters, one of which is the fine or flavor cocoa of Ecuador known as “nacional” or national cocoa. READ MORE