World's finest trinitario cocoa beans comes from T&T!

Trinidad and Tobago has some of the best cocoa flavours in the world, as proven by the International Cocoa of Excellence 2017 Awards, which ranked two samples from Trinidad and Tobago among the best bean samples globally. I am amongst many eager patrons at the 2017 International Chocolate Day Event at the Santa Cruz Green Market celebrating this great news on T&T’s indigenous fine flavoured cocoa.

Luckily, we get to actually experience the products of this cocoa through brands such as Cocobel and Brasso Seco, on the spot. “Cocoa is so versatile. You can do anything with cocoa,” says, Rheanna Chen, the host of the event, as she proceeds to announce the locations of the charming chocolate booths, the crowds already rushing to taste different chocolate and cocoa products. I am part of a crew of samplers called the Sista Samplers, a group of three women (Nikki, Candy and I) who travel throughout Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean tasting indigenous foods. We taste, we sip and we sample, and then we reveal our culinary discoveries to the world through our blog, Sista Samplers.

At the International Chocolate Day, we feel like Parisian gourmet food critics as we dive straight into 70 per cent dark chocolate (made with 70 per cent of cocoa beans). Bittersweet findings, as our tastebuds surely testify: the dark chocolate is bitter at first and then sweet towards the end, leaving a lasting impression.

But the truffles…the tempting truffles are infused with ginger, citrus, coconuts and anything else you can think of, fresh from the flavourful garden. This wide assortment of cocoa delicacies is served by: Cocobel Chocolates, an establishment in West Trinidad with a longstanding reputation for producing the best artisanal chocolates in the islands; House of Arendel, a stalwart for signature chocolates; Ortinola Great House, a restaurant and chocolate tourism site located in Maracas, St. Joseph, Eastern Trinidad; the Brasso Seco Chocolate Company, which also displays cocoa powder, nibs and grounded coffee beans; and so many more artisans showcasing their chocolate and cocoa creations.

Later in the afternoon a group of men from Brasso Seco do the cocoa dance (also referred to as ‘Dance De Cocoa’) which is a traditional ritual used tofor polishing dried cocoa beans through using sliding foot movements throughout the rows of the beans. Meanwhile, my sister samplers and I dance our way to gourmet glee as we sip on cocoa tea from expert cocoa entrepreneur, Astrida Saunders, and then enjoy a trial demonstration of the Montserrat Cocoa Farmers’ Cooperative Society cocoa creams and lotions.

To conclude our Green Market Chocolate experience, we do a quick visit to the booth for Café Mariposa, an artisanal cocoa and chocolate gourmet restaurant and agro-tourism site located in Lopinot, East Trinidad. Lopinot and Mariposa have a legacy in cocoa farming and value-added cocoa products. With creations such as cocoa-flavoured pork and lamb, cocoa bakes, and cocoa puncheon crème (an alcoholic beverage with cocoa, milk and other spices), they add diversity to the cocoa world both locally and internationally.

“The convergence of stakeholders at such an event is a great initiative by the Green Market and cocoa/chocolate fraternity of Trinidad and Tobago,” comments Marcia Guerrero, a member of the popular Mariposa group, manning the booth.an artisanal cocoa and chocolate gourmet restaurant and agro-tourism site located in Lopinot, East Trinidad. Lopinot and Mariposa have a legacy in cocoa farming and value-added cocoa products. With creations such as cocoa-flavoured pork and lamb, cocoa bakes, and cocoa puncheon crème (an alcoholic beverage with cocoa, milk and other spices), they add diversity to the cocoa world both locally and internationally.

So to round off the International Cocoa Day festivities, I taste some Mariposa puncheon crème—and that completes my critic report. Now, as I write up my findings, I proclaim myself the newest recruit to the local chocolate-loving circle. Perhaps you can beI recommend that you become a recruit, too, through the sista samplers blog and your own indulgenceby indulging in the local chocolates sold every Saturday and Sunday at the Santa Cruz Green Market and at local retail venues such as Massy Stores.

For more information on the Santa Cruz Green Market, visit www.santacruzgreenmarket.com.

Check out the Sista Samplers blog at: www.lifeisinternational.wixsite.com/lifeis 

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