2014 vintage chocolate.. harvest underway
The beans we will use for making chocolate over the coming months are ripening on the trees on Malekula, Vanuatu - with a ‘scout’ harvest currently scouring the blocks for early ripening pods.
We actually get two bites of the cherry (or cocoa pod as it were)... because cocoa trees actually produce two crops per year. The first (bigger) crop is picked over March, April, May followed by a secondary crop which is picked October, November.
Here’s a snap-shot of growers breaking open the ripened yellow pods out in the field – the sappy, fragrant beans are scooped into sacks and transported by tractor to the fermentery.
It is here the magic happens.. thanks to naturally occurring microorganisms, the beans undergo a ‘wild ferment’ in large wooden bins...
Once spread out onto wood-fired drying beds, the incredible, heady aroma of Malekula chocolate begins to waft through the fermentary.