Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cacao beans: Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario

There are two distinct main species of the cacao used in the manufacture of chocolate: Criollo (which means "native") and Forastero (which means "foreign"). There are many hybrids.. the most popular is the Trinitario.

The Criollo beans were the predominant cacao of Central and northern South America, but because of its low productivity and susceptibility to disease, it now constitutes, as a recognizable variety, on the order of 0.1% of the world's crop.
The beans of the Criollo require very little fermentation and the unique flavor and aroma are highly prized by chocolate manufacturers all over the world. Not surprisingly the beans are almost exclusively used in combination with other varieties.
Criollo Porcelana, the best known example of Criollo, retains the signature mild fruitiness attributed to the variety, although it is, of course, even more rare than Criollo as a whole.

Forastero cacao, by far the most common of the three varieties, is believed to be indigenous to the northern Amazon River basin in what is now Brazil. As a result of its disease resistance and high productivity, it represents close to 90% of the world crop. It tends to have earthy, relatively simple flavors with moderate acidity and is known as "bulk" cacao. Depending on the quality of the bean (pod ripeness at harvest and the degree of care taken in fermenting and drying the beans), Forastero can add extremely desirable elements to a blend or little more than color.

Many Forastero varieties are cultivated, in Venezuela excellent varieties are Carenero Superior, Caracas Natural and Rio Caribe. The Amenolado is the most widely spread and cultivated variety in the world, it produces delicate, aromatic beans. The amelonado variety called Arriba, grown in Ecuador, with its delicate qualities and fine aroma are considered equal to the world's best beans.
Cacao comes in a variety of types since the trees cross-pollinate freely and create a lot of hybrids. The most distinct and common one is the Trinitario. As the name suggests it comes from Trinidad where the Spaniards cultivated the Criollo in the 17th century. After a hurricane A.D. 1727 almost all of the cacao plantations were destroyed and when replanting the orchards they used the Forastero. Soon thereafter hybrids between the Forastero and the remaining few Criollo trees that survived the catastrophe occurred naturally. The Trinitario holds about 10-15% of the worlds cocoa production and has inherited the robustness of the Forastero and the delicate flavor of the Criollo, even though its characteristics are mainly from the Forastero, and is used mainly for blending.
Mmm.. I am drinking a Chocosol Hot Choc while I type this. I felt so good today.. so on the green juices, actually today it had Beet, and Jalapeno and Garlic and Ginger & green, green , green.. and I got to sample a LOT of Blue Phycocyanin - Thank you Johnny!! ! ) LOve PEA!!!!
~PEA (phenylethylamine) is an endogenous brain compound found naturally in only two foods: chocolate and AFA algae. When taken consistently, PEA , nicknamed "the molecule of love" enhances mood, brain function, the nervous system and creates a feeling of joy or well-being. ~
: )


Cacao beans said...

Cacao beans is good for health. It is rich in magnesium and sulphur, cacao helps maintain healthy bones, good for skin, hair and nails. It helps to maintain cholesterol levels and lowers blood pressure. It possess medicinal properties. Cocoa seeds helps to treat diarrhoea, malaria. Cacao leaves pulp helps to treat eczema, rashes.

All about fruits said...

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