To make some of the most awarded Belgian chocolate, Erik Goossens begins looking for the finest and natural ingredients. He selects the most exceptional cacao growers who will meticulously ferment and dry the beans. They simply must share the same passion for quality as Erik does. This is essential in the process of creating the finest chocolate possible.
The processing of cacao beans
As the cacao fruit is ripe, it is harvested and split open. The beans and pulp are removed (approximately 40 beans per pod). Then it is rolled in banana leaves and fermented for 5 to 7 days. To stop the fermentation process, the beans are taken out of the banana leaves and spread out to dry in the sun. Finally, the dried beans are roasted and crushed into nibs. These nibs eventually will be crushed again (conching) forming a smooth paste which is the base ingredient for chocolate. Many growers speed up the process, as they are providing their beans to cooperatives or huge conglomerates which represents 95% of the world harvest. They often shorten the fermentation process, which results in a lack of color and complex taste. Generally, beans should be dried in the sun not over fires which creates undesirable smoky flavors