Two of the five samples submitted from Trinidad and Tobago to the Cocoa of Excellence 2017, International Cocoa Awards, Salon du Chocolat, Paris France, have been selected among the best 50 bean samples globally, to be celebrated at the Salon du Chocolat, Paris, France later this year.
The chosen samples originated from the San Juan Estate, Gran Couva and the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries’ Rio Claro Demonstration Station.
The Ministry, in a release, quoted County Officer Florencia Beckles who heads a 15-person team at the station, which includes Station Manager Sashtri Doon and Quality Officer Roger Polia. She said it was an experimental six-week project to teach farmers how to do drying.
“About 75 percent of the estates in the county are abandoned. We wanted to show the farmers that given the microclimate of this area the quality of the beans was excellent. We wanted to give them a reason to get back into production; show them they could produce quality dried beans themselves and get a good price on the market,” she said.
Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat said cocoa in Trinidad and Tobago was not generic.
“It’s plant, soil, and geography-specific. Farm practices create the bean. It is not accidental at all. Rio Claro is such a small team; I think that is what makes this a remarkable accomplishment,” he said.
The ministry said with almost 30 acres in Ecclesville under cocoa cultivation, the Rio Claro project team harvested pods that were predictably sweet and consistent in quality with other varieties of “trinitario” beans native to Trinidad and Tobago.
The ministry noted that just this week, Tobago Cocoa Estate’s ‘Laura’ milk bar, also made from the finest trinitario beans, won gold in the semifinal round of another competition, the International Chocolate Awards.
The Salon du Chocolat is a celebration of the excellence of quality and diversity among cocoa producers worldwide. Held in Paris from October 28 to November 1, the Salon du Chocolat will host 500 participants from more than 60 countries, including 200 world-renowned chefs and pastry chefs. To qualify for the finals of the International Cocoa Awards, one of the Salon du Chocolat’s marquee events, the top 50 bean samples will be processed into chocolate following which they will undergo sensory evaluation through September by a panel of 40 experts.