Speaking to ConfectioneryNews at ISM in Cologne, Germany, last week, Nicholas Camu, group manager of Barry Callebaut’s sustainable sourcing program Cocoa Horizons said: “We believe that fermentation is the most important step in introducing taste in your cocoa beans.”
Barry Callebaut is running a project in the Ivory Coast to supply cocoa farmers with starter cultures that promote the growth of certain yeasts during cacao bean fermentation. The company believes beans developed through the process, which it is using in its premium quality Terra Cacao chocolate, lead to an improved chocolate flavor.
Keeping fermentation at farm level
Fermentation usually takes place at plantations, where cacao beans are heaped into a pile, covered by banana leaves and left to rest for seven days.
The fermentation usually happens at farm level, but some companies collect the beans to ferment themselves.
“Quality-wise it’s the best solution, but it doesn’t give a farmer an incentive to stay in cocoa,” said Barry Callebaut’s marketing director for Food Manufacturers Western Europe Sofie De Lathouwer. “At Barry Callebaut, we keep it at the farm level because we believe it is important for farmers’ income because if you ferment your beans you get more money out of it.”