Appears in

Chocolates and Confections

By Peter Greweling

Published 2007

  • About

Cacao agriculture and production is an enormous topic, worthy of volumes in its own right. The References section lists several resources with extensive information on this topic. For the present discussion, it is sufficient to say that there are essentially three varieties of cacao grown commercially: Criollo, Forastero, and Trinitario. Criollo cacao is generally regarded as the finest quality, but it is low yielding and prone to damage from disease. Criollo constitutes a very small portion of the world crop; most estimates put it at around 10 percent of the annual cacao harvest. Forastero is a hardier variety that produces better yields but tends to lack the flavor complexities of the Criollo bean. Forastero constitutes the majority of the worldโ€™s cacao harvest, approximately 70 percent of the annual production. Trinitario is a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero, a crop that exhibits some of the advantages of each of the parent varieties and makes up some 20 percent of the world harvest.