Chocolate, like wine, can come in a range of qualities and flavours.
At one end you have the cheapest wines (aka “plonk”) that has no distinct providence and can easily be compared with cheap chocolate that is known by the name of the company producing it rather than where it comes from. At the other end of the spectrum are the highly sought after, very highly prized, and highly priced, single origin chocolate and wines from a single plantation or vineyard.
Coming very close to this very top tier is the Single Origin range of chocolate and wine that is solely produced in one single region or country. This is the spectrum of chocolate used exclusively by “Artisan Chocolates by Saffire” in their Single Origin Chocolate Bars.
Single Origin Chocolate
Single Origin Chocolate is produced by growing cacao beans of superior flavour and accounts for only 5% of the world’s total cocoa production.
Unlike wine, which grows extensively across the globe, Chocolate/Cocoa/Cacao only grows within a narrow region either side of the equator that spans from 15 degrees north to 15 degrees south. But it can not grow everywhere in this belt, it needs warmth, lots of moisture, long hours of sunshine and a rich soil.
Much like wine, chocolate reflects the flavours of the region where the cocoa beans are grown.
Countries like Ecuador and Columbia are only able to produce a small quantity of cocoa beans each year (compared with the mass-producing countries) and so they specialise in producing high quality Single Origin Chocolate. At Artisan Chocolates by Saffire we are using this limited resource in uniquely decorated Single Origin Chocolate bars.
Belgium and Switzerland, for example, are famous for chocolate bearing their name. As they are too far north of the equator to grow cacao trees, companies, for example, in Belgium, import cocoa beans from other countries and blend together two or more varieties to produce their own quality chocolate. Most of these beans come from the biggest growers in West Africa: Ghana, Cameron and Côte d’Ivoire. As this chocolate is produced from a blend of cocoa beans the price of this chocolate is more affordable but is still of good quality.