Much like the different varieties of coffee, cacao beans come in varying types. Three kinds of beans dominate the world market, serving as the base for most fine chocolates.
Each of the three main beans grown from cacao trees serves as the prime base in chocolates. Without the bean there would be no chocolates and without the finer beans gourmet confections would be bland indeed.
Grown in different parts of the world, the three beans used in most chocolate production today are the Criollo, Forasteros and Trinitario. Each of these beans has its own properties that result in slightly different tastes in the chocolate end product.
The Criollo beans are the ones that started it all. Europeans first stumbled across them in 1502 when Christopher Columbus came in contact with them. Grown in South America, these beans are known for producing the finest in chocolates. They grow in South America’s milder climates and require very rich soil. The beans themselves are considered the best for making chocolates because they are highly aromatic and have low acid levels, which helps create fine chocolate end products.
Forasteros come from the Amazon region of South America. These beans are thought to account for about 80 percent of the world’s cacao production. Not considered as fine as the Criollo, these beans produce a weak aroma and have a bitter taste although they can be processed to create fine products.
Less common for chocolate making than the Forasteros and not as fine in quality as the Criollo, the Trinitario is considered a hybrid bean from the cacao tree. This bean combines the taste of the Criollo with the higher yields of the Forasteros and is grown in South America, various Caribbean islands and a few other locals.
To take any of the beans and process it into a fine product of chocolate takes skill, and expertise. Not naturally sweet, the cacao resulting from the bean must be specially worked to create the chocolate flavor so many around the world crave.
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George Murray is the President of Centric Promotions, Inc. Learn more about the history of chocolate and view an assortment of luxury chocolates and chocolate gifts by visiting us at: http://www.chocolate-gourmet-gifts.com