Here I’ll try and go through every country of the world that either grows cacao or has something worth talking in the world of actually making wonderful chocolate. If there’s any countries you’d like me to take a look at then fee free to add a comment.
The Caribbean is well-renowned for growing some of the finest cacao there is. Obviously central and south America grows some awesome cacao, there’s just a place in my heart for the Caribbean
- Cuba – currently the one of my all-time favourite dark chocolate bars is the Cuban Chapon 75% – delightful! I’ve also visited Cuba and loved the country. I’m trying hard to try some more of what they have to offer.
- Haiti – obviously Haiti is in a bad way, they’ve got terrible poverty which was compounded by the earthquake. They’re trying hard to increase the production of smallholder cacao producers and are getting a lot of support from international organisations.
- Dominican Republic – Chocolate from the Dominican Republic typically has a deep, earthy flavour although, with the number of small producers it is difficult to generalise about the flavour. It is also a significant source of Fair Trade cocoa and today produces around 32,000 tonnes of cacao in total per year.
- Jamaica – Chocolate from Jamaica often has light fruity flavours but only produces around 300 tons of cacao per year.
- Trinidad & Tobago – not the largest producers of cacao with annual production around 1,200 per year and mainly focuses on Trinitario cacao and is the supposed birth of the Trinitario hybrid cacao tree. I actually liked the Pralus Trinidad 75% very much and is definitely worth a try.
- Grenada – The small island in the Eastern Carribean may be the worl’ds second largest producer of nutmeg actually makes some high quality cacao. I’ve reviewed the 60% bar from the Grenada Chocolate Company which wasn’t all that great. Also Amedei do a 70% single origin from Greneda which I’m going to buy soon.
Central American Chocolate
- Mexico – Less well known than Costa Rica, they still do make some cacao that has contributed to some nice dark chocolate bars, including the Sainsbury Taste The Difference Mexican 66% Dark Chocolate With Chilli
- Belize – quite possibly the birthplace of chocolate, but paradoxically we can’t get much chocolate from their now, other than a handful of bars made by Green & Blacks
- El Salvador
- Nicaragua – I like the sound of what’s happening there. I’ve currently got some Zotter bars on their way which have been made with cocoa from Nicaragua.
- Costa Rica – similar flavours to Jamaica and produces around 5,000 with many cacao tress being grown wild. The Rainforest Alliance Certified Dark Chocolate was very nice!
- Panama – I’ve not tried any, but I haven’t heard anything glowing about Panamanian chocolate yet – I hope to try some soon.
Ghana and the Ivory Coast is responsible for the vast supply of cacao, but there are other countries worth looking at too.
- Ghana – La Maison Du Chocolat Akosombo 68% was very nice. With production of around 740,000 tons of cacao production per year which works out at about 20% of the world’s supply.
- Ivory Coast – ah these are the big boys of cacao production with around 40% of the world’s cacao supply coming from the Ivory Coast producers. Although many of the artisan bars can have a very deep flavour with complex notes, their cacao is more well-known for being sold to the major multinational chocolate manufacturers.
- Sao Tome & Principe – it may sound like a Caribbean island. Actually is a group of islands off the coasts of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. I’ve not actually tried any from Sao Tome & Principe yet, but I do have some in my collection to review soon. They may actually taste a touch acidic as the cacao trees originally came from Brazil by the Portuguese – although I’m sure the climatic, drying and other factors would have a significant impact on the flavour. Pralus do a bar as well as Michel Cluizel.
- Madagascar – If you are determined to try some chocolate from Madagascar then you have to try the Jean-Paul Hévin Aria 70% which is an outstanding bar of chocolate.
- Cameroon – Cocoa is the cash crop to mor ethan 75% of the population in Cameroon, but you hardly hear anything about it and in recent years production has been falling and doesn’t have a high reputation in chocolate circles. At the moment I can’t find any companies that make chocolate with cacao from Cameroon.
- Equatorial Guinea – Traditionally cacao has been the main crop of Equatorial Guinea although they only produce around 5,000 tons per year.
- Fernando Po / Biko
- Sierra Leone
- Nigeria – I don’t see many fine dark chocolate bars being labelled as originating from Nigerian cacao, but surprisingly it is Africa’s third largest producer and was introduced in 1874.
- Uganda – this isn’t a country you hear so much about for the production of cacao. Although Demarquette used to do a bar and The Chocolate Tree currrently do a bar.
Of course Indonesia have been growing cacao for a good while but what about the other countries? What are they doing in the world of cacao production?
- Vietnam – I’ve tried the Artisan du Chocolat Vietnam Origin Bar – which was fantastic!
- Cambodia – It has been reported that they’re going to start producing great quality cacao soon.
- Indonesia – Chocolate from Indonesia can tend to be a touch acidic. I’ve tried the Willie’s Delectable Cacao Indonesian 69% which was nice, nothing out of this world, but still very palatable. Also Pralus do a couple of single origin dark chocolate from Indonesia (Indonesie and Djakarta) and a milk chocolate bar too called Melissa (See here).
- Sri Lanka – Dolfin do a bar with cinnamon from Ceylon and Bonnat also do one too.
- Philippines – Akinosie do a 77% bar from the Phillipines.
South American Chocolate
This is the location of much of the finest cacao produced – especially Venezuela.
- Peru – traditionally a bitter flavour with slight fruity characteristics. I recently tried the Red Star 70% and loved it.
- Brazil – Known for their acidic dark chocolate with a significant 160,000 tons of cacao produced each year and is the largest producer in Latin America and allegedly the source of saplings to west Africa. I did think the old trade / slave triangle went the other way? Anyway, the Pralus Bresil 75% was very nice indeed and any chocolate lover should give it a go! And one of my first reviews was the Sainsbury’s Brazillian Dark Chocolate with Peppermint which was good and may still be around? Although, I’d say the Artisan du Chocolat Espresso Bar is still my favourite.
- Bolivia – I’ve tried the Bolivan 68% from Demarquette which wasn’t too bad. It’s not my favourite and for £7 it was a bit too expensive when compared to other brands.
- Colombia – Pralus do a 75% dark chocolate bar which has hints of coffee and nuts. And also Melt do some Colombian chocolate.
Oceania & The Pacific
- Papua New Guinea – I tried the Fortnum & Mason 70% with cacao from Papua New Guinea, but I didn’t think too much of it. I’ll have to try some more.
- Hawaii – I’ve found a company that grows cacao in Hawaii and make chocolates there too. I’ll have to try out OHCF – but they don’t deliver to the UK! I’ve also found Waialua Estate.
- Western Samoa
- Solomon Islands
- Hawaii- I’ve tried the Criollo bar from The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Company and it was damn awesome!