What chocolate should you eat?

Chocolate is so good that even terrible chocolate is pretty good, and this is why you are happy to eat commodity chocolate

But it can be so much more.

Unfortunately, most of the chocolate in the world is terrible.

That’s a very radical statement, and we’re going to break it down.

Chocolate can get damaged at many stages, starting from the DNA of the plant, simply being that of a healthy, tasty and flavourful genetics, through poor cultivation and harvesting practices, through uninspired or sometimes poorly executed or unhygienic fermentation, through mouldy cacao from transportation or storage in giant facilities, through excessive or again uninspired roasting, refining, conching, tempering and storage, all the way to the state of the cacao butter in the chocolate, and even unintentional aromas.

With this broad definition of defective in mind, most of the chocolate in the world is made of defective cacao or “liquor” (the industry name for 100% refined cacao).

The vast majority of chocolate you find in the supermarket comes from West Africa, with 60% coming from Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana, most of that coming from Cote d'Ivoire, almost half the world's chocolate.

Cacao grew in Venezuela first, transported to current day Mexico by humans who there started a cacao consuming culture. This was discovered by the Spanish who brought it to the courts of Europe, for the royalty. This was on brand for cacao, which was consumed only by warriors and royalty in Maya and Aztec cultures.

Once the royalty of Europe caught on, the European powers all began trying to grow cacao in their colonies, using their enslaved people. Despite chocolate’s huge demand and high price, the local growers in these countries to this day are seeing an astonishingly, embarrassingly low portion of this value, and are forced to resort to pay and labour conditions which the modern world does not accept within the definition of human rights. As you can imagine, this has a big impact on produce quality and management.