NZ Life & Leisure - - That’s The Spirit -

Choco­late comes from the ca­cao tree, specif­i­cally from the seeds (or beans) found in­side pods that grow on the trunk of the tree. Un­shelled beans are fer­mented, then dried, then sep­a­rated from the husk. What is left is a “nib”.

OCHO nibs are squeezed into a paste in a pre-re­fin­ing ma­chine be­fore fur­ther re­fin­ing. At this stage, some man­u­fac­tur­ers sep­a­rate the solids from the but­ter then remix. How­ever, Liz is a purist and doesn’t sep­a­rate her ca­cao so as to main­tain its sin­gle-ori­gin sta­tus.

So what’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween co­coa and ca­cao? “Same thing,” says Liz. Ca­cao is Span­ish, and co­coa is English. “Peo­ple have started say­ing ca­cao when re­fer­ring to bean-to-bar choco­late be­cause they want to dis­tin­guish it from mass co­coa pow­ders.”

Agnes Pilopaso, a ca­cao grower and fer­men­tary man­ager in Ho­niara (above). Order­ing beans from the Pa­cific Is­lands makes sense, eco­nom­i­cally and so­cially.

Head judge Elle Crocker, aka Elle Coco, at the Choco­late Awards judg­ing day.

The OCHO pre-re­fin­ing ma­chine crushes the ca­cao beans.

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