Single Plantation Chocolate
By the time Cortez discovered the Aztecs' cacahuatl, earlier inhabitants of the Americas had been drinking it for at least a thousand years. What the Spaniard found was a domesticated variety of theobroma cacao known as criollo, which is native to Central and South America. Its slim oblong pods contain pure white aromatic beans that are the source of a particularly prized chocolate. But it is fragile and grows relatively few pods and under highly specific conditions.
Once established in the new world, the Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch brought cocoa to their tropical colonies overseas. But, despairing of the fragile criollo, planters relied on a different variety from Amazonia known as forastero, which means "foreigner". It is hardier and more productive, and it travels well. Its beans are purple inside, unlike the white criollo.
In the early 1700s, a Caribbean calamity resulted in a third variety of theobroma cacao. Something that history records as the "blast" devastated Trinidad. Today no one is certain whether this was a monster hurricane or a deadly blight. Either way, it wiped out the island's criollo trees. They were replaced with a hybrid between the two already known varieties, the trinitario, which has since found its way around the equator.
ÅKESSON´S, faithfully to its ethic and philosophy, offers examples of the three cocoa varieties from some of the best plantations in Africa, South America and Asia...