My dear sweet hearts how have you all been keeping?!! I trust that you all are doing well or finding ways to be inspired to live life to the fullest!!! Anyways I am here to empower your chocolate intuition and heighten your buyer senses to be more alert to the gratifying destination of chocolate that we get to live in!!!
International Chocolate Day was celebrated this month with a chocolate exhibition at The University of the West Indies’s St. Augustine Campus. The event included a two day expo hosted by The Cocoa Research Centre. This year marks the fifth year that they are having this event. This initiation intended to stimulate public awareness, pride, support for the local cocoa and chocolate products. It served as an opportunity to attract investment and capitalize on this venture to direct collaboration, strategic thinking and decision making in a way forward to develop this niche market as a form of economic diversification for the country. The International Chocolate Day celebrations in Trinidad did not only include this event but a culmination of other events scattered over the country. I was fortunate to attend one out of the many. There were persons from cocoa research units, cocoa gene banks, some owners from the estates where the cocoa is grown and supplied to the vendors as well as local chocolatiers. Yes chocolatiers!!!! These are the persons who make the chocolate right here at their homes in Trinidad.
Some chocolates were priced higher than others. Some were wrapped in gourmet luxury packages whilst others were simple. Nonetheless, the energy of these creative people in the room was so electrifying. Some entrepreneurs in fashion and beauty sold cocoa pod accessories as well as cocoa infused body scrubs, cocoa butters and other spa items. These cocoa products were unique. You see the cocoa grown on each estate variable. Several growth and development factors in agriculture and the immediate environment affect the smell, taste and look of the cocoa crop. Hence when chocolatiers get their cocoa beans they are already flavoured with blends that are aromatic, spicy and even fruity. Obviously the chocolatiers add their other ingredients to make their bean to bar or bean to truffle more delectable and exquisite.
The first time I interacted with a chocolatier was about six years ago at The Shoppes of Rose Hall in Montego Bay Jamaica when an Indian boutique owner had advertised her collaboration with a chocolatier for the mall’s annual Halloween event. I was so intrigued that the home chef chocolatier business was a “thing”. The second time I dealt with a chocolatier he was the head pastry chef at Sandals Resorts. He expressed his interest to visit Trinidad because he heard about our high quality and distinctly flavourful cocoa beans. Of course as an advocate for all things local I gave him some contacts for The University of the West Indies’s cocoa and agriculture unit. ( Interestingly enough my final year thesis was on agrotourism in the community of Brasso Seco in Trinidad.) So when I returned to Trinidad I visited the research unit myself and as years passed I finally made the trek to the Brasso Seco community to visit their cocoa estate and Dr. Kelly Warren (yes the U.S. researcher who fell in love with the community and decided to make it her home). She is definitely a mover and shaker for agrotourism in that community. Eventually my life would cross paths with the lovely Gillian Goddard of Suneaters Organics and Soular. She is one of the chief advocates for the cocoa industry and the owner of several organic agriculture startup companies. So my excitement and interest in creative entrepreneurs continued to escalate.
Photo Credit : https://www.facebook.com/BrassoSeco/
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/eatsoular/
Needless to say I am by no means a “sugar rush” fan as I try to maintain my diet as much as possible. However, I do indulge in artisan chocolate with higher cocoa percentage to sugar content. I choose the higher cocoa content because of the nutritional benefits of cocoa consumption. The cocoa bean can be broken down into its nutritional components of iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, copper, selenium, potassium and zinc. The value added advantage of using cocoa include but are certainly not limited to a reduction in high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, constipation, bronchial asthma and in some instances cancer. It is great for healing bruises and cuts. It improves skin, brain and heart health. Cocoa is rich in copper so it aids anyone suffering from such deficiency. Last but not least cocoa is abundant in flavanoids, antioxidants and antidepressants which help cleans and enhance anyone’s mood.
So next time you are about to bite into your local chocolate bar or make some cocoa tea or get a cocoa body wrap or pedicure remember how blessed you beautiful people are to get your hands on these precious treasures right here in destination chocolate.
I bet you all will be making up for missing out on International Chocolate Day.
These fabulous gems are only a phone call away so get your orders in early before the Christmas rush.
Start eating your way to a happier and healthier you!
Take care my luveys
Let’s Go Trinidad and Tobago