From Seed to Bar – Straight to You
As both farmers and chocolatiers, we take sustainability to the next level. We grow our own historic cacao from seed, before transforming it into artisan chocolate bars with unique flavour profiles. We see the whole process through from seed to bar, all from our family-run farms in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
A closer look at how we make our chocolate
Where the magic happens
Our fine-flavour cacao is grown in the mountains in St Vincent and the Grenadines (which is made up of 32 unspoilt, vibrant islands and cays) where it’s been growing in rich, fertile soils for hundreds of years.
The unique flavour of our cacao
Much like a bottle of fine wine, the flavour of a bar of chocolate is determined by the variety of cacao and the soil it’s grown in. So we obsess over both.
Luckily, the soil on St. Vincent is incredibly fertile and nutrient-rich, thanks to La Soufriere (our active volcano) so our cacao trees are very high yielding.
We grow lots of different strains of cacao including Criollo, Iquitos, Amelonado to name a few. With our genetic programme, we are working hard to create varieties which taste more complex than other cacao in terms of flavour profile.
We intercrop our cocoa gardens with bananas and citrus trees, to provide shade for young cacao trees – so you might well detect notes of these fruits in our chocolate, too.
Every bean is precious
Cacao trees produce around 10,000 flowers every year, but only 10-60 will develop into cocoa pods. Cocoa pods contain around 40-50 beans – and it takes three pods to make one bar of Islands Chocolate. So you’ll understand how precious each bar is to us.
Fermentation and drying
Once we’ve harvested the cacao, fermentation begins. This is where it gets even more exciting. Fermentation times differ between each variety of cacao, and it’s really important we get the time just right, to bring out the best in each bean.
Having spent roughly a week in our cascade fermentory, the beans then head into our specialised solar drier, for up to ten days of drying. This integrated process creates ideal conditions for the complex and subtle flavours of the cocoa to develop.
From cocoa to chocolate
Every batch of cocoa beans is then hand-sorted before being delivered to our chocolate workshop in Kingstown (St. Vincent). From here, our self-taught team of chocolatiers grind and conch the beans in small batches for about three days, allowing their flavours to develop even more.
Finally, we get mixing and tempering, before crafting it into utterly delicious, hand-wrapped bars of Islands Chocolate.
Here’s a little video about our family run cocoa company - St Vincent’s Chocolate Company