Madagascar 73% – 2018 Harvest
Bejofo Estate is an organic cacao orchard that makes up one part of the 2000 hectare Akesson Estate in northwest Madagascar’s Sambirano valley. Akesson’s Estate is divided into four smaller estates–Madirofolo, Menavava, Bejofo, and Ambolikapik. It is managed by Bertil Akesson, who has specialized in growing fine cacao, pepper, and other spices for many years. Bejofo Estate produces 300 tons of cacao a year. Bertil also sells chocolate made out of his cacao under the “Akesson’s Organic” brand, which is sold throughout the world. Cacao was introduced to Madagascar by French colonialists in the 19th century. They first planted Criollo, some of which is still around today. However, the majority of today’s crops in Madagascar are considered Trinitario. The country produces nearly 3000 tons of beans a year. Most of the trees are concentrated in the Sambirano Valley in the northwest, where soil and climate are ideal for growing high-quality cacao.
Our approach to creating our chocolate is very similar to the process of making wine. We only use natural ingredients with no fillers (such as cacao butter, artificial flavors, synthetic emulsifiers, etc.) to let each variety show its unique character. Single origin chocolate is chocolate that’s made from one type of cacao harvested in one region. Why does this matter? Cacao is a plant. Like other plants, its beans take on the characteristics of the area where it’s grown—its terroir. Many terms used to describe single origin chocolate will be familiar to wine lovers—earthy, floral, herbal, and berry, to name a few. When cacao is blended, the effect of terroir is lost just like wines.
We taste a burst of sunshine! An immediate explosion of a fresh tart citric fruit with a soft fleshy fruit side – soursop, guanabana. The center taste has the emergence of a very mild cacao/chocolate note but immediately supplanted by nut/coffee note.
All of our single-origin chocolate is made with just cacao beans and organic unrefined sugar; no added cacao butter, lecithin, or vanilla. Our chocolate is free of soy, dairy, eggs, and gluten, and it is made in a factory that does not process dairy, peanuts or tree-nuts with the exception of coconut.