TER­ROIR, VA­RI­ETY & FLA­VOR

EatingWell - - SWEET POTATOES -

As with wine, where and how co­coa is grown—its ter­roir, or taste of place—can im­part lay­ers of fla­vor to choco­late. The va­ri­ety of plant, or cul­ti­var, it­self also im­pacts fla­vor. Ecuador, for ex­am­ple, is known for co­coa with flo­ral and nutty notes, while beans from Venezuela are prized for del­i­cate fla­vors of caramel and honey. And a good por­tion of craft choco­late made from Mada­gas­can beans comes from a plan­ta­tion known for co­coa with a sweet­tart­ness akin to green ap­ples.

The ma­jor­ity of co­coa beans, how­ever, are sold al­most in­ter­change­ably—where beans from Ghana are con­sid­ered equiv­a­lent to those from, say, In­done­sia—and bred for yield and dis­easere­sis­tance, not di­ver­sity of fla­vor. They’re made into choco­late with strict recipes that re­quire con­sis­tency. For good rea­son: we want to rec­og­nize the taste of our Ghi­rardelli or Her­shey’s bar ev­ery time we reach for it. But if it’s ter­roir you’re af­ter, go craft.

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