The best chocolates in the world to discover this Easter
First things first, the word chocolate derives from the Mesoamerican language Nahuatl word – chocolātl – which literally means “bitter water”. This word was used because cacao has less than 2% of natural sugars, it is only during the process of transforming the cacao into chocolate that sugar is added. Bear in mind that we did not say cocoa as one might expect, this is because at this stage it is merely that, a fruit. A fruit from which we extract the seeds (beans is the most commonly used term), which are then fermented, dried, roasted and ground, and only then can we call it cocoa.
There are around 10 varieties of cacao and only a few countries in the world that have the right conditions to grow it and an even fewer that actually do so. Among those, some have excellent terroirs. In addition, of all the cacao varieties only a few make good chocolate.
Therefore, we can choose our chocolate either by terroir, or by variety or if one wants to be really exquisite by chocolate maker.
Here are some of the terroirs and their flavour notes for you to discover:
Venezuela produces some of the best cacaos in the world, the predominant varieties are Criollo, Criollo Porcelana and Trinitario. Venezuela has several terroirs, here are some:
- Sur del Lago: bright, acid, red fruits – Pairing Suggestion: Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny
- Carenero Superior: spice, tropical fruit – Pairing Suggestion: Taylor Fladgate 40 Year Old Tawny
- Paria/Rio Caribe: very bright, very acid, spice and fruity – Pairing Suggestion: Taylor Fladgate LBV
- Chuao: intense, blueberry, molasses – Pairing Suggestion: Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Old Tawny
- Porcelana variety (extremely rare): chocolatey, hazelnuts, mild, strawberry - Pairing Suggestion: Taylor Fladgate Vargellas Vinha Vellha 2004
Ecuador has a very particular cacao, the Nacional or Arriba, which is traditionally dark, blackberries and brown sugar. Ecuador also has a couple of major terroirs:
- Manabi: floral and fruity – Pairing Suggestion: Taylor Fladgate Qta de Vargellas Vintage Port 2005
- Guayas: heavy, sweet, prunes and raisins – Pairing Suggestion: Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Old Tawny
Papua New Guinea is a very peculiar terroir. The cacao from this terroir has a unique note that sets it apart from all the others. It is a case of love or hate: Wild spices, tropical fruit and heavily smoked. Pairing Suggestion: Taylor Fladgate 30 Year Old Tawny
Madagascar is another very exquisite terroir that gives birth to some of the best cacao in the world to make chocolate. This terroir has some very distinct notes, ranging from citrus to orange blossom as well as cherries, woody, coffee. Pairing Suggestion: Taylor Fladgate Single Harvest 1968