This is Duane, the owner of a fine flavor cacao estate in Tobago. I met him some months ago at one of his Chocolate and Caribbean Rum tastings. He believes that it is the plantation owner who should choose the best chocolate maker for his beans. With this, he is at the forefront of the new school chocolate philosophy which puts all the emphasis on the origin of the cacao and on the craft of the chocolate maker to bring out the terroir of the land.
This contrasts with the old school chocolate world, in which Chocolatiers import chocolate from around the world mix the beans and standardize the flavor to make each bar the same. They do not disclose any origin and keep all the credits to themselves. They do not mention the farmer nor the fermentation process, even though these are known to be critical to make great chocolate.
Duane has so far 4 different bars collaborating with three world-renown Chocolate Maker:
- Laura Dark milk 45% and 70% dark by Francis Pralus (France)
- Dark Milk 63% by Mikkel Friis Holm (Denmark)
- Dark with 68.9% by U.S. Chocolate Maker Art Pollard from Amano
Each of these bars clearly states the name of the single estate from where the beans come from and by whom it was transformed into chocolate giving a 50/50 credit and accountability to each party.
The proof that this type of collaboration can be extremely successful is, that Laura was the overall Gold award winner at the International Chocolate Awards in 2017 and this year won Silver in the category Plain Milk Chocolate bars. The Friis Holm bar was just launched to the market a few months ago but it will be sure high on the list.
The estate is the first in Tobago to receive full organic certification in December, and it is one of these lush places that you can visit on your next holiday.