Hello, my fellow chocolate lovers,
I am Takanori Chiwata, the chocolate engineer of COCONAMA CHOCOLATE.
Starting from today, I would like to share about the Ecuador trip I had the chance to go the other day. I would like to make these posts like my travel journal, so excuse my broken English!
Cacaos are packed into a bag as shown below and are sent to be processed.
Even during this period, the pulps are reducing. The farmers check the weight of the cacao, place concrete on it, and reduces the pulps on cacao further. You can see that the concrete placed on the cacao is quite damaged. This is because the cacao pulp contains organic acids like citric acid, which causes the concrete to corrode gradually.
When they get to this point, it is finally ready to get fermented. The beans looked more dry compared to the other farms which was quite unique.
They use the “pile-fermentation” method to ferment the cacaos.This method uses plastic bags,rather than wooden boxes, to cover up the piled cacaos and to ferment them.It was quite unique to see such a big farm using the “pile-fermentation” method over the classic “wooden box-fermentation” method. After numbers of tries,it seems like they found out that this method was the best way to ferment their cacaos.
Then they use a machine to dry the beans out. Ecuador is summer-like all year long, so they can harvest cacao anytime. However, they do have the rainy season and the dry season, so they use the machine during the rainy season to dry the cacao beans. By the way, this machine was humongous. It probably could have went through few tons of beans in one cycle.
After the drying, the beans are packed and are supposed to be shipped to us, in Canada.
As I just gazed off to the side, I saw something floating in a humongous pool. They were bananas! I was quite lucky as I wanted to see the banana field and how they process it after coming to Ecuador.
The bananas are carried in a monorail from the field, and then directly into the pool.
The bananas get washed, and are separated into two mid-way.
They get separated into the domestic consumption and overseas consumption.
For the domestic ones, they pick out slightly ripe bananas, and for overseas’, they pick out the under ripe bananas. The overseas-purpose bananas then gets further cleanse, packed in a box, and finally, to the transport truck.
We even got to see bananas….
After that, we savoured our dinner. The food in Ecuador was seriously great. They have rice and the vegetables are fresh, proving how rich their land is. It was also nice how they didn’t season the food overpoweringly spicy, but just with salt and pepper(and a lot of deep fried food, they’re the best ). Although it is a manner to clear your plate before you leave the dinner table, it was quite tough for an old man in his 40s to finish all that deep fried goodies…
Then we held a meeting to discuss about the quality of beans, and finally started heading back.
Let’s call it a day now. I am hoping to see you all on our next post.
With hopes that you will be able to encounter the perfect chocolate just for you,