India has long been known for a number of agricultural crops; the coconut, spices and mangos grown in India can be found around the world. Growing cocoa is something much newer to the country, mainly grown through intercropping techniques (when the trees are planted between the much taller coconut palms) in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh.
In 2015-16, India harvested 17,200mt of cocoa beans: an amount that’s equivalent to just a touch over 1% of the Ivory Coast yield.
Mirzam has been working with a sustainable plantation located in the foothills of the Anamalai’s, in the Pollachi region.(Anamalai – translates to Elephant Mountain), surrounded by hills that create a dramatic backdrop for the acres of coconut palm plantations that shelter the delicate cocoa trees.
As a testament to the enormous efforts of the plantation owners have been utilising to use organic and sustainable farming practices, cocoa trees usually start to produce pods after an initial growing period of five years; they have pods showing up on 2 and 3 year old trees.
The Anaimalai plantation holds about 2,500 trees, on which each can expect to fruit 100 cacao pods per year. The genetics of the cocoa across the plantation are mixed, resulting in the shapes and colours being varied from tree to tree.
The farm employs sustainable and organic techniques to manage the plantation, and the lush healthy trees, quality of the cacao and presence of friendly helpful insects & native birds show the success of these efforts in action.
Once the cocoa pods are ripe, they are harvested from the tree, and cracked open to release the fleshy fruit inside. The tropical tasting white pulp provides the sugars needed for the fermentation process to develop delicious chocolate flavours.
Step 1: Opening the pods, and collecting up the cocoa beans.
Step 2: Fermentation takes place over several days, in wooden boxes.
Step 3: Drying also takes several days, to slowly evaporate leftover moisture.
Step 4: Bag those beans!
To discover how these cocoa beans taste when finally transformed into chocolate, visit our Alserkal Avenue space for a tasting workshop (complimentary spaces every Friday), or order our 65% Single Origin India bar through our website online.
Watch our adventure here!:
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