The journey of Islands chocolate: from seed to bar
Our family-run business, the St. Vincent Cocoa Company, nurtures our cocoa from planting the seed through to sorting the beans. The cacao trees are grown on our farms in the rich, ancient volcanic soils of St. Vincent in the Caribbean.
Cacao pods come in an array of beautiful colours, from deep purple to bright orange, depending on their underlying genetic groupings. We have over 365 different strains of cacao, which enables us to constantly experiment with flavour.
Our freshly harvested beans are clean and without defects so we don’t need to treat, decontaminate or homogenise them. This improves their taste, health benefits and also reduces any impact on the natural environment.
After fermenting for a week in our cascade fermentory, the beans are dried for a further ten days in our specialised solar drier. This integrated process ensures the ideal conditions for the complex fruity flavour profile to develop.
Each of these steps contributes to the unmistakeably delicious taste of our chocolate – that's why we don’t trust anyone else to look after them for us!
We believe that chocolate should be crafted from its very origins, the seed.
The bean-to-bar process begins only halfway through the Islands chocolate-making journey, after the beans have been sorted. Bulk-produced chocolate starts three quarters of the way through, only once the beans have been roasted, winnowed and ground.
Every batch of our beans is hand-sorted to test their quality and uniformity before they are delivered to our chocolate factory in Europe.
We roast our beans at a very low temperature to maintain valuable flavanols which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
We also work extremely closely with our team of chocolatiers to create the finest recipes; once ground, the beans are tempered, molded and transformed into bars of rich chocolatey deliciousness.
There are no shortcuts in our seed-to-bar crafted chocolate and the journey involves a handful of experts. The seed-planters, pod-pickers, bean-harvesters and chocolatiers are all equally important in our chocolate-making chain.
As well as the people, we also look after our land in St. Vincent. We take measures to reduce our trace by intercropping plants to increase diversification and by using as few fertilisers as possible at this early stage.
At Islands we are still perfecting our art, however, we continue to raise the bar at every step in order to make healthy, sustainable, and traceable chocolate that is unrivalled in flavour.