Fine Chocolate

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

In recent years, as producers large and small, in the United States and abroad, began to worry about the world supply of cacao beans, Mars and Hershey’s undertook the genetic sequencing of the cacao bean in order to ensure a sustainable future for cacao. Their findings, published in 2010, have helped to identify the most flavorful, disease-resistant plants that are robust producers. Concern over the plight of cacao farmers, among the world’s most impoverished workers, has increased as public awareness about chocolate in general has grown. Seeking to shorten the food chain, many barsmiths are traveling the world, forging direct connections with cacao collectives rather than sourcing beans from brokers. This practice ensures that the premiums they pay for superior beans actually end up in the farmers’ pockets. In many ways, the traditional model of chocolate making has been turned on its head, with cacao-growing countries now becoming chocolate-making nations.