Did you know that Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) is the world’s best-kept secret when it comes to chocolate?
It’s one of the few places in the world that grows several varieties of trinitario beans, a “fine flavor” cocoa bean. These premium beans are highly coveted in the global market and are mainly used by gourmet chocolatiers. In 2017, Trinidadian cocoa bean samples were selected among the top 50 samples in the world by the Cocoa of Excellence program. Recently, the local artisan chocolate industry has experienced a mini explosion. Here are 9 of the best chocolate makers you can only find in Trinidad and Tobago.
Cocobel Chocolate is the brainchild of Isabel Brash, an architect turned chocolatier. She creates whimsical creations from beans harvested from the Rancho Quemado Estate in south Trinidad. Flavors are locally inspired and include sorrel, Trini rum, guava, mango, pepper, even local herb, chandon beni!
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When I interviewed founder Astrida Saunders in 2008 for this newspaper article, I was blown away by her genuine warmth. Today, she continues to make high quality chocolate products including chocolate bars and drinking chocolate (shaped into tiny cocoa pods and flavored with yummy herbs and spices). Saunders has also recently opened a Chocolate Bar Cafe in Santa Cruz.
Sun Eaters Organics makes single origin/single estate, single bean gourmet chocolate bars. This company also considers itself very environmentally conscious and is concerned with ethical and sustainable business in the local cocoa industry.
Sun Eaters is not a 'normal' business. We exist primarily to iron out the processing challenges of locally sourced raw materials such as cacao beans and then to share, at no charge, the streamlined process with rural communities. It's always enjoyable when a chocolate eater such as @heimatzu understands that we're into deliciousness in a big way but it's all the other variables allowing us to soar. #grateful @Regrann from @heimatzu – Plenty. Stocking up on my favourite ethical chocolates from the M-Store at Piarco Airport, Trinidad. Founded on a philosophical practice of re-indigenisation, these chocolates have radically localised chocolate making in the cocoa growing regions of the Caribbean. The recipe of relationship-based cooperatives, localised training and organic cocoa sourcing, and cool rooms for the tempering process make Sun Eaters Organics irresistibly delicious 😋 🍫@suneaters #ethicalfood #caribbean #eatlocal #golocal #indigenous #chocolate #chocoholics #cocoa #guiltfree #organicfood #organicchocolate #eastershopping. Gold bag by @theclothcaribbean #golden #drawstringbag #potofgold – #regrann
Hikers in Trinidad and Tobago know that Brasso Seco is home to some of the most pristine terrain in the country. It’s therefore no surprise that this community is also home to quality cocoa. This company makes chocolate bars from 100% Brasso Seco cacao beans.
Although originally from Singapore, Gina found a second home in Trinidad and is today one of its finest chocolate makers. She started taking orders in 2008 and her stuff has even been sampled by international state dignitaries. Gina whips up one of a kind chocolate bars (70%), truffles, even chocolate pies and cakes.
Entrepreneur James Burns produces chocolate from cocoa grown in Gran Couva, central Trinidad. JB Chocolates’ goodies include drinking chocolate (100%), 70% smooth dark chocolate (combined with Starbucks’ Pike Place roast coffee beans), mocha bars (50% cocoa milk chocolate bars with Trinidad and Tobago’s robusta coffee), sea salt chocolate bars (70% cocoa with a hint of sea salt), and more.
This company features high-quality chocolate produced from beans grown in La Reunion Estate in central Trinidad. In 2017, it recently received two Academy of Chocolate Silver Awards: one for its unique steelpan packaging and another for its La Reunion 70% Single Estate Dark Chocolate Bean-to-Bar. According to its website, its chocolate can be described as “a strong cocoa flavor but balanced with a marked raisin-like fruitiness and subtle floral notes. Having relatively little bitterness, a faint caramelized flavor develops towards the end. The mouth feel is rich, smooth and has a velvet-like depth.”
Sounds like something straight out of Lord of Rings, right? House of Arendel makes premium dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, cocoa butter, and other products. This family business is all about the sustainability of the cocoa industry in T&T.
“Handcrafted with love from Trinidad and Tobago.” Cocoa Republic recently won accolades at the International Chocolate Awards in 2017. Featured products include malted milk chocolate with toffee and 65% dark chocolate with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
You can find many of these chocolates at local farmer’s markets like Green Market and UpMarket and in gourmet food stores across Trinidad and Tobago.
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