Saturday, November 24, 2007


The cacao is looking kinda horrific, at least to my westernized sense of food hygiene (and I’m fairly lax about that). For cacao to taste like chocolate it has to ferment and then be roasted. The gooey white coating on the beans is a fermenting agent, all one does is take it out the husk and leave it somewhere, turning it occasionally, for 6 days or so and then dry and roast it. Traditionally they are left in a big pile on some banana leaves. I’m keeping mine in a partially covered Tupperware on the deck (I tried it before in a closed container and it just grew fungus). So I have a pile of fermenting fruit in an open container. Fruit flies, wasps and a big beetle have become part of the fermentation process. When I turn the beans clouds of fruit flies engulf me.

So basically chocolate is a fermented food which partially decomposes in its own compost pile in the first step of its process from bean to bar. News to me. I have another day for the first batch of 5 pods. They look almost ready, the white goop has gone and the beans are darker and smell fermented. The second batch is now 3 days old, today I’ll start another one.