Harvesting Cacao | How to Make Everything: Chocolate Bar
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Harvesting Cacao | How to Make Everything: Chocolate Bar

August 13, 2019


How to make everything from scratch: Chocolate bar. My first step for making my chocolate bar entirely from scratch will be harvesting the fruit of a cacao tree Since cacao is not native to Minnesota, i’m gonna have to head south Despite being the birth place of chocolate, Mexico today produces less than 2% of the world supply of cacao Instead, nearly 70% of cacao comes from west Africa With constant reports of the use of child labor and forced slavery in this industry There’s a very real possibility that the chocolate you eat everyday, is made by the hands of child slaves. With this dark side to the production of chocolate, i want to find a more social responsible source for my chocolate The Soconusco region of Chiapas, Mexico, is believed to be one of the earliest locations that cacao was grown as a crop As far back as 4000 years ago. Despite many challenges, this region still produces cacao just as their ancestors did millenniums ago There are 3 main varieties of cacao plants. Forastero, Criollo and Trinitario. 80 to 90% of chocolate is produced from the Forastero variety because of its higher yields and stronger disease resistence However, the Criollo is a much rarer variety, known for being a delicacy In Soconusco, i met up with Jorge, president of CASFA. An organisation of farmers who are agreeing on sustainable methods for producing caco that both respects the
environment and the local farmers This region of Soconusco is known for its production of Criollo cacao After arriving in the city of Tapachula, Jorge took us out to the jungles where they grow their cacao.
Instead of a plantation farm with fields of cacao trees their trees are integrated into the natural ecosystem of the jungle This method is more environmentally stable and prevents deforestation and monocultures but increases the spread of potential cacao diseases After a shot track into the jungle in the sweltering ninety degree heat of this humid December day I assisted Jorge by planting a seedling
that they had matured in the nursery He had me count off 4 paces from the next closest cacao tree to ensure that the wouldn’t compete with each other Then they had me clear the brush with a machete. Then dig a hole I then filled the hole with organic compost to give the nutrients it would need; then we planted the
sapling Once filled in, foliage was added around it to help protect it So now that’s planted it’ll take about 4 years for it to mature and start harvest it so…
I just have to come back in four years But it takes more than time for a cacao tree to start producing fruit, so Jorge took me to a 1 year old tree to show me what needs to be done to care for a cacao tree before it can be harvested They had me go through and trim any excess sprout that the tree had grown Forcing it to instead put its energy toward growing the cacao fruit And to grow more horizontally instead of vertically An extra challenge to gardening in the jungle was some of the not so friendly insects Next we leveled out the land around the tree to help protect the roots And added some compost to help it grow Knowing very little spanish, following their directions was a bit difficoult Some things were lost in translation Lastly, the cacao tree requires a balance of shade and sun So we had to trim some of the surrounding trees so to get just the right amount My machete skills weren’t exactly the best… Now in three years this tree wil produce fruit But to find mature trees I could harvest I went to another member of CASVA. Jose He showed me around his beautiful home. And right out is backdoor is a jungle full of exotic fruits and vegetables In a method that is
compatible with existing ecosystem, Jose grows plantains, mangos, limes and numerous other tropical crops including cacao I found it incredibly captivating to handle these strange, alien looking pods that just grew out of a tree I’ve never really made the connection that the delicious chocolate we eat actually comes from a tree’s fruit Shall I go behind it? There we go Doesn’t smell like chocolate Sure Hmm, smells like a fruit Oh, yeah It’s like a bitter chocolate but also tastes like a fruit Trying the raw cacao fruit, really blew away my expectations While having a slight bitter chocolate taste at the center, it mostly tasted like a regular fruit Not at all what I expected So, how many pods grow on a tree? So from an entire tree like this how much chocolate would you produce from that? So does the outside of the pods serve any purpose? So it can be used in a lot of different foods, what’s some of your favourite things to use up with? Inside, Jose showed me some of the other products, including the raw nips which had a nice chocolate flavour while not being overly sweet and resembling the texture of flax or oats The show me the jelly that can be made from the outside the pod It’s made by boiling the rind for a few hours and the result is a very sweet, kind of pineapple flavoured jam that’s eaten on bread It’s actually good, very sweet, doesn’t really tastes like chocolate. Thanks to the help from Jose and everyone from CASVA, I now have my raw cacao beans However in the current state, they don’t really taste much like chocolate Prepairing is a crucial fermenting and roasting steps that give it the real chocolate flavour, so that’s what I’ll need to learn how to do next

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  1. I saw that I can grow them in my area in containers, which is 😎. I love in Michigan so I have to wait until spring time which sucks.

  2. I really like the way Mecixans speak Spanish. Having learnt it at school, I can quite easily understand everything they're saying, unlike in Barcelona or not to even mention Andalusian Spanish.

  3. I'm working my way from the beginning to the end of the series and this video is by far the most informative.

    I'm more curious about chocolate than I have ever been before.

    GREAT STUFF!!

  4. amazing content! can't believe you have so few subs and views. Subbed and binge watching your channel right now. Keep some awkwardness in the future 🙂 although for now, less would maybe be better

  5. Cacao is packed with antioxidants.

    Actually, the guy in the video is 90 years old, you won't notice.

  6. In the UK, at least, we have Fairtrade products (chocolate, juice drinks, fruit, sugar, coffee), which means that the food was sourced from ethical farms.

  7. Interesting! I've eaten many cocoa beans right out of the pod. and I've eaten the marmalade they make from the pulp. But I didn't know people are now eating the pods! I've got to try that the next time I am in the jungle!

  8. here in the philippines we only eat the fleshy white part of the seed. i was shocked that they chewed the whole thing. hahaha

  9. The thing most people don't get about child labor is it's often either a necessity and/or the lesser evil. In most places, child labor is preferable to the alternative, which is working in agriculture and getting paid only in room and board, rather than actual money. Anyone who's worked on a farm knows how much worse it is than working in a factory. Especially if you're not even being paid for it. The other thing is, many families in these regions NEED that extra income to get by. They can't afford to send their kid to school, they need every able-bodied member of the household to be making money. And even that's not enough to make it, most of the time. So think twice before you start judging people based on what life in the West is like. Life isn't the same as it is in America everywhere else in the world.

  10. "it mostly tasted like a regular fruit" – that's some epic description there! So good, he described the beans the same way twice… Next time I'm at a supermarket, following his example, I'm going to say that an apple tastes like an orange, or that a grapefruit tastes like an apricot, or that a pineapple tastes like a raspberry. So yeah, keep up the good work!! :/

  11. the fact that shitty countries force their shitty kids to get this for me, thus making themselves even more shitty, makes me VERY happy.

  12. Literally the only thing this guy said was either “this tastes like chocolate” or “this doesn’t really taste like chocolate”

  13. Is child labor really​ that bad tho? I worked my ass off all day every day when I was a kid if I didn't I wouldn't eat that night. It really taught me the value of hard work

  14. Is it bad that i wanna try everything he tried? It looks like a nice snack. Some jam on toast 😋😋😋

    Im kinda hungry darnit I need to stop thinking about food

  15. Reminds me of the mini documentary I saw in Hershey PA about cacao trees. They actually have a few growing indoors so people can see them in person.

  16. This is great, We live in Brazil right now, so I always see a couple chocolate pods in the grocery sore, but I've never bought one. I didn't know you could eat it raw and unprocessed.

  17. Awesome this reminds me of gardening with my grandparents and uncles/aunts since they don't speak much english… i like how you went to the roots on this and talked to locals as well as got the history and some more amazing information from specialists in the field!!!

  18. I've been in to the bahamas and tried a cocoa pod and the seeds inside it are purple on the inside

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