Explore Dominican Republic with Debbie
Home Page > Debbie's Blog & Articles > Heaven is: Organic Dominican Chocolate.

loading...

Find and Compare Deals

Heaven is: Organic Dominican Chocolate.


The Dominican Republic is more than just a Caribbean vacation paradise. Aside from its beautiful beaches, its breath-taking sunset, and panoramic views, the Dominican Republic is currently one of the chief producers of organic cocoa in the world.  more...


loading...

Best Deals

The Dominican Republic is more than just a Caribbean vacation paradise. Aside from its beautiful beaches, its breath-taking sunset, and panoramic views, the Dominican Republic is currently one of the chief producers of organic cocoa in the world.

Dominican Cacao, the bean from which cocoa is derived, occasionally surpassed coffee as a source of export revenue. The Dominican cocoa industry emerged in the 1880s as a competing peasant crop, when tobacco underwent a steep price decline. Although overshadowed by sugar, cocoa agriculture enjoyed slow, but steady, growth until a period of rapid expansion in the 1970s. In 1988, four major exporters dominated the cacao industry in the Dominican Republic. The majority of the Dominican cacao production was low quality, unfermented beans that were shipped to the United States at low prices. Seven hundred small-scale farmers came together to form CONACADO with the goal of producing a higher quality cacao, directly accessing new markets, and getting better prices. Over 20 years later, this small-farmer organization has 10,000 farmer members who produce approximately 25% of the cacao exported from the Dominican Republic. The co-operative’s success in quality improvement and marketing means that the majority of their cacao has been sold as high quality fermented beans, primarily to niche markets: Organic, Biodynamic, and Fair Trade.

The best cocoa beans in the country are grown in Cibao Valley, San Francisco de Macoris, and Santiago. The actual cocoa bean is the dried and roasted seed from the cacao pod of the indigenous "Cacao tree or Cocoa Plant". Every cocoa pod contains between 20 to 50 soft almond-like beans with a purplish or reddish color. The cocoa beans may or may not be fermented before drying, roasting, and then grinding. Sugar—and optionally vanilla, cinnamon, and/or pepper—can be added to the coarsely ground cocoa mass, then molded into balls or other shapes, before cooling and hardening.

Did you know that until the invention of a specialized hydraulic press in 1828 chocolate was always consumed as a drink? Chocolate powder was mixed with water or milk and flavors such as vanilla, cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice and chilies were added.

A great way to learn more about cocoa and the way it is turned into a chocolate bar is to take one of the chocolate tours that are being offered from various locations in the Dominican Republic. You will visit local farmers and learn of the Taino and African heritage and witness the different stages of cocoa growing. Generally the tours allow you to pick some cocoa pods yourselves and harvest the beans that once were used as currency. Of course you get to know all about how the cocoa beans are turned into a bar of chocolate and learn that it takes from 135 to 270 cocoa beans to make 500g of chocolate. Other tours take you for a walk through the cocoa groves, allow you to plant a tree and enjoy a lunch complete with chocolate beverages. It is a good idea to inquire if Conacado and/or IDEAC certify the tour. This way you know that a portion of the proceeds will benefit these organizations and their members.

About Debbie | Advertise | Contact Debbie | Site Map | More Links | Disclaimer | © Debbies Dominican Travel 1999 - 2017