Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 1st 2013 Contents . n n C B n?
It's been a reoccurring theme (or obsession rather) throughout my life.
Like any other child, I grew up loving chocolate. Somewhere between
age 6 and 9 where my first memories of pouring through my mother's
baking books and marvelling at the beautiful pictures of fancy
desserts -- the chocolate ones always stood out in my mind. In my
university days, I would look forward to a weekly chocolate show on
TV as a diversion from my studies in math and computer science. The
artistry and skill in the making of chocolate sculptures captured my
imagination -- though I never dreamed it could ever be more than just
that... a dream. But then several years later, my father acquired a
cocoa estate and my adventure into the spell-binding world of Theo-
broma Cacao began!
2. n n A C ?
Everything! It's not just a food -- it one instance it can be an art form,
an in another, a whole experience.
From Chocolate Masters competitions and chocolate fashion shows in
Paris to sharing the source of the finest chocolate in the world
through Cocoa and Chocolate tasting tours right here in Trinidad --
chocolate really runs the gamut.
3. ' n C v ?
Not sure I have one.
4. n A A C /C n-
y C n n ?
Our company's mission includes aiding in the effort to revitalize the
cocoa industry. We aspire to increase awareness and appreciation of
Trinidad fine/flavour cocoa by capturing the interest of our local popu-
lation, and thereby the next generation of cocoa industry stakehold-
ers, through the glamourous world of chocolate.
Our specific aim geared towards that mission is the establishment of
a regional centre for chocolate skills training. This year the Centre for
the Development of Enterprise (CDE) (an ACP (African, Caribbean
and Pacific)/EU joint Institution created in the framework of the Coto-
nou Agreement to support the development of the private sector in
ACP countries) has been providing funding for our pilot program for
the training in chocolate product manufacture as part of their larger
project to a 3-year Caribbean Fine Flavour Cocoa Industry Commer-
cialisation Technical Assistance Programme (2011 -- 2014).
With the financial contribution of the CDE (ref. www.cde.int), we have
September 1, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
provided training in Chocolate Making from the Cocoa Bean
and assistance in sourcing specialist chocolate machinery.
This September will see our first Advanced Chocolatier
Training Program in Belgium.
Future plans for official opening of the training centre will
rely heavily on the support and interest expressed by re-
5. n n C -
Understanding the science behind the method and of
course, love what you're doing...
. v A C ?
Making people happy.
7. A n n ?
Processing time -- creating chocolate all the way from the
bean can take an entire week.
Real high quality chocolate, containing real cocoa butter, is
much more susceptible to heat than the ordinary candy bar.
In a tropical country, it can be a real challenge.
8. n y ?
In T&T: Cocobel Chocolates, Gina's Truffles, Olando's
In Belgium: De Zwarte Vos (Chef Van Cauwenberghe's,
available online at www.dezwartevos.be)
In Switzerland: Felchlin (Smaller Chocolate Company of ex-
quisite quality. I had the privilege of training with them in
9. n C C ?
The concept had been in the works since 2010 when I went
back to Belgium to entreat Chef Bart van Cauwenberghe to
be part of our vision for Trinidad and Tobago Cocoa.. We de-
veloped a concept for a chocolate event to be hosted at
both the Trinidad and Tobago hospitality and tourism insti-
tutes. These events not only educated people about fine
flavour cocoa, chocolate and the world class reputation that
TnT fine cocoa enjoys but it also served as a research visit
for Chef Van Cauwenberghe to experience the tastes of our
. y C C n ?
Apart from his significant expertise in this field, with over
20 years of chocolate experience and a reputation for revo-
lutionary taste design, Chef Van Cauwenberghe is unsur-
passed in his ability to imbue his passion for chocolate in
2. C n B n n y An n y
C n y?
Our quality is already world renowned. The quantity of pro-
duction can only be increased if people feel motivated to
get back into the industry. The major problems are the lack
of labour and minimal returns on the farmers' investment
(cost of producing a dry kg is often greater than what the
Cocoa Board pays). This is why people are turning to value-
added products like chocolate. The Cocoa Research Centre,
UWI, St. Augustine is an invaluable resource for persons in-
terested in learning more.
3. C n C - n An A A
Equal parts of both.
4. , B n
C C ?
I was encouraged by Dr. Sukha of The Cocoa Research Cen-
tre, UWI, St. Augustine to attend the Paris Salon du Choco-
lat expo since it took place merely a few days before the
start of my Swiss training in 2010. This was wonderful ad-
vice as nothing could be as eye-opening an experience for a
young chocolatier. It was also an awesome experience to lit-
erally wave our flag high when we won international hon-
ours in the Cocoa of Excellence held in the same venue.
5. A y y C n n
A C ?
As a 'Tree-to-Bar' Chocolate Maker and Chocolatier -- I wear
COCOA FARMER -- the cocoa estate is situated in the ward
of Montserrat, hence the reason we were able to join the
Montserrat Cocoa Farmers Co-operative Society. This role
involves managing the estate's upkeep; pruning, fertilizing,
cleaning. During harvest time it involves finding experi-
enced help to cut the cocoa pods from the trees (as I ex-
plained - it is indeed imperative to find people with
experience as improper cutting practice can damage the
plant irrevocably for the rest of its life span.) At harvest, we
break the pods and remove the wet cocoa beans. The wet
cocoa would be then taken to the co-op immediately to
begin fermentation followed by traditional sun-drying.
CHOCOLATE MAKER -- I then take the perfectly dried and
fermented beans transform into chocolate. This can take
anywhere from 4-6 days
CHOCOLATIER -- I dedicated a workspace in my kitchen
where I can control the temperature to my chocolatier
work. Temperature of course is the key element. I hand
craft each and every chocolate to the client's specifications.
Chocolates can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days to prepare
depending on their complexity.
ENTREPRENEUR -- As with every entrepreneur you must
be able to juggle all aspects of your business -- operations,
finances, marketing and of course you always have to have
your eyes open to new opportunities.
Links Archive August 31st 2013 September 2nd 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page