Anyone who has followed Mason & Co will know that we put a lot of importance on spending time on the farms with our farmer partners. We do this not only to forge a strong and long-lasting partnership with the farmers but also to promote and control the quality of the cacao we use in our chocolate.
Here are some photos from our recent trip:
Cacao trees grown as an intercrop to coconut trees. The coconut trees provide the shade for the cacao trees. The trees are spread out and pruned well to allow for good ventilation.
Cacao Pods sprout directly from the branch of the tree and will continually sprout from the same flower, so care must be taken when harvesting not to cause any damage.
The cacao beans inside the pod are covered by a white pulp which tastes lovely, but is actually used to ferment the cacao pods, so is usually a by-product of cacao production.
The cacao beans are placed in fermentation boxes for a period of 5 – 7 days and covered with leaves. This is the most important step in cacao production because it develops the chocolate flavour that we all know and love and is a key factor in determining the particular taste and quality of the chocolate.
Cacao beans are then sun-dried. This farmer has hygienic drying stations with plastic roofs to prevent animal matter contaminating the beans.
Beans being packed & weighed to sell to Mason & Co Chocolate.