IN THE RAW
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.