Currently, only about 10% of fine cocoa beans reach our chocolate. The rest are destined for ‘industrial’ chocolate or chocolate confectionery.
Appreciation of fine chocolate
What brings us together in the Academy is the belief that few producers really understand the difference between fine chocolate and confectionery. Nor do they realise that chocolate is made from a fruit, the cocoa bean, with flavours that can be just as subtle if they are not masked in sugar and fat. As a result it is difficult for consumers to find a selection of fine chocolate and make up their own minds.
We strongly believe that giving people the chance to savour and to learn about fine chocolate will give them a greater appreciation and therefore anticipation for more ‘proper’ chocolate’. ‘Proper’ comes from a myriad of factors including the variety of the beans, where they are grown, the fermentation process, the drying and the manufacturers recipe and methods, not just chocolate with high cocoa solids.
Once you have discovered what pleasure, complexity, richness and wide sensations there is in fine chocolate, you never look at chocolate the same way, you never buy chocolate the same way. We want to bring this opportunity to as many people as possible, with no vested business nor commercial interest.
Transparent sourcing of cocoa beans
We believe that demand for fine chocolate will act as an incentive to select better quality cocoa beans and therefore have an impact on the cocoa growing countries. They in turn will be able to take more care with their production, fermentation and drying methods thus protecting the workers and the environment. This will lead to a better price for the cocoa beans.
Unless we begin to pay cocoa farmers a decent price, like many other areas of agriculture, young people will leave the plantations and move into cities where there is more lucrative employment. Cocoa plantations will give way to more lucrative forms of agriculture and the sources of the finer beans will be lost.
Not only will this have a poor effect on the quality of cocoa and thus our chocolate but also will have a further destructive effect on the world’s environment.