A Gift from The New World
For centuries, cocoa was grown and consumed as a beverage by the civilisations of Central and South America. The Spanish introduced cocoa to Europe in the 16th century, where it became a popular drink. By the late 19th century, technological innovations such as the press and conche emerged to allow the production of high quality eating chocolate and chocolate confectionery.
There are three varieties of cacao beans used to make chocolate: criollo, forastero and trinitario. Famed for its mild yet complex flavours, criollo is mainly grown in Venezuela. High yielding and full bodied, forastero is widely cultivated in West Africa, while trinitario is a hybrid of criollo and forastero.