tree to bar chocolate in Cuba
In my previous post, I was a little harsh on the commercial chocolate currently being made in Cuba at their government-run chocolate factory. But I did mention that there are individuals who are growing small amounts of cacao on their private properties and making a more pure and authentic form of tree to bar chocolate in Cuba–without all that unnecessary sugar.
making tree to bar chocolate in baracoa, cuba
In this post, I’d like to take you to Casa de Zoila, a small property in the Baracoa region of Cuba where Zoila grows her own cacao and goes through each of the steps to make her 100% raw and organic cocoa chocolate bars, as well as bonbons and cocoa balls.
Zoila ferments the cocoa beans in a pot covered with a banana (or any other large) leaf for four days. She then dries the fermented beans in the sun for four days. She then roasts the beans for 15 minutes on a wood fire. After they’re roasted, the beans are fairly easy to shell. The shelled cocoa beans are then run through a manual grinder.
The chocolate in Zoila’s Baracoa bars is 100% cocoa and quite intense. She uses pieces of these bars to melt down and make her special hot chocolate drink made with hot water and sugar added to taste. Be prepared! This is not the silky hot chocolate we may be used to in other parts of the world. This is a hot chocolate drink intense in flavour and true to its essence. Think of it as chocolate espresso!
My thanks to the Cuban Tourist Board for financing this trip and arranging my terrific cocoa-focused itinerary. We visited Casa de Zoila for a private tour thanks to the local office of cubatur, the government-run travel agency that worked in cooperation with the Cuba Tourist Board to organize my incredible itinerary to Eastern Cuba. There are other “cocoa houses” you can visit for public tours, including Finca Las Mujures recommended by my friends at Villa Paradiso Baracoa. Stay tuned for my post on this lovely guest house coming up soon.