Where does chocolate come from? Do I need my own factory to make it? With our location being in Indonesia—a top cacao producer—you’ll learn about the culture, business, and pleasure behind organic chocolate making.
Let’s get to the basics
The treat you so love is borne from a cacao tree. Chocolate is the final product while cacao is the origin. Much like a fruit tree bears produce, a cacao tree bears cacao pods. About four to twelve inches each in size, once cracked open, these pods contain beans and nut-sized “nibs” that are used to make chocolate.
For chocolate to be considered organic, it means it was made without using chemicals and pesticides; ensures not just quality in taste and safety, but sustainability in the land where it was produced.
Chocolate and Indonesia
“Though the cacao tree originated in South America, today, four of the five top-producing countries are in Africa,” explains Modern Farmer. The other top-producing country? Indonesia. What do these places have in common? They are near the equator. Cacao looks to warm and humid climates for growth. Indonesia’s tropical conditions, combined with fertile soil thanks to its volcanoes, make it an ideal setting for such growth.
So, when does the fun begin?
During our camps, both kids and adults can participate in:
- Getting a cacao history lesson. From its benefits (boosts energy, uplifts mood, supplies minerals), characteristics, to products.
- Seeing real cacao trees. We’ll visit a site within the Green School campus and if the season is right, you may even get to harvest some cacao pods.
- Making chocolate sauce. A simpler process compared to other chocolate products, we’ll enjoy the warm, homemade sauce on cool, delicious ice cream.
Steps to make chocolate sauce
Remove cacao beans from pods. These beans are naturally coated with pulp. Separate the pulp and leave to ferment while the beans are dried. This is done ahead of time as drying takes days.
Once dried, put the beans into a frying pan. Stir gently until they are blackened.
Remove the outer shell of the roasted beans.
Put the peeled beans on a mortar. Pound them with a pestle about 30 times. Scoop out the pounded beans and sift it to produce fine cacao powder.
Mix the cacao powder with milk (or water) and coconut sugar in a pan. Bring to a boil. Now, you have chocolate sauce!
Adventures in nature don’t always have to mean running around in a field, but also seeing how nature plays a part at home and in the kitchen. We hope to inspire both kids and adults to step back and see the bigger picture in our everyday activities—learning how to appreciate the resources, time, and energy behind food.