ORGANIC CACOA PASTE
History of organic Cocoa Paste (Theobroma cacao)
The cocoa paste is the natural product of crushed cocoa pieces, which come from the Theobroma cacao tree. It is said that the Olmecs from southern Mexico were the first tribe to cultivate cocoa, around 600 BC. At that time, the beans were so valuable that they were often used as a means of payment. The value became protected for a quota to be set before harvest.
The crop originally comes from Central and North America, where it came into the hands of the Aztecs. The current variant of hot chocolate is based on the traditional recipe of roasted and ground beans, the paste of which was mixed with water.
Cacao was used in this way until Columbus and his men brought it to Spain on their fourth trip to America. They imitated the traditional recipe but were not really impressed by its bitter and watery taste. They, therefore, added vanilla, spices, nuts and honey to sweeten their drinks. This drink was a favourite among the Spanish royal family and because of the expensive cocoa beans it soon became a status symbol.
Cacao trees are only found in South America and produce small pods about 10 cm long and 4 cm thick. One pod contains about 40 beans which are found in a bed of soft pulp.
The requirements of the environment for a successful cocoa plant are very strict. Temperature, precipitation, humidity and surrounding vegetation play a role. The plant grows best around the equator, 75% of all cacao production comes from this area. After planting, the seedlings need protection against weeds, vermin and the sun. In the Amazon this is a natural environment and this is where the trees grow very well. If they are not pruned, the trees can grow up to 10 meters high.
Process from Pod to Cacao Paste
Cacao pods are fully grown after 6 months. When ripe, they get a deep orange colour. The pods are then harvested by hand. They are left to rest for at least 2 days after which they are opened to remove the beans and pulp. The beans can now ferment, which allows them to retain their flavour and aroma for longer.