Part I – Heading to the farm
Chocolate as we know it is the result of a combination of various ingredients and processes that turn into the product that we love so much.
The most important ingredient of chocolate is the seed or bean from the Theobroma cacao tree. This tree calls the tropics home. It grows around 10 degrees either side of the Equator where it’s nice and toasty and humid all year round.
In May 2014 I travelled to Vietnam to find out a bit more about cacao.
During my visit, I had the opportunity to go on a bean hunting trip to the Mekong Delta with Samuel and Vincent, the owners of Marou – Faiseurs de Chocolat in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). What a treat.
The 2 hour journey started in style in a vintage Citroen Dalat, from the hustle and bustle and crazy traffic of Ho Chi Minh City which has 3 times the population of New Zealand, to the Mekong Delta, South East of the metropolis. After numerous potholes and being the entertainment of the locals on the ferry crossings we made it to the small farms in the Delta.
Thank you to the lovely farmers and their hospitality. The moment we arrived at the farm we were being served refreshments like green mango, coconut water and tea. After a few minutes of rest and some chit chat with the farmers, the hunt for the perfect beans began…..more will follow soon.