Brisbane's Dello Mano Brownie Explores Ghana Cocoa

June 02, 2013 1 Comment

After many years of reading about Cocoa plantations and finally launching Dello Mano,  I pinched  myself as I stood there in Ghana amidst the beauty of the dapple rainforest light, gorgeous little Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Trees) and the most amazing rainforest floor (what I would give for that lovely mulch in my home garden!). Although par for the course, it is sweltering - very hot and very humid. Apparently with the wet season coming, the humidity was set to rise, so I'm grateful to be ahead of anything more extreme than what we experience that day.  Still heat and humidity aside, it was fantastic to actually be there experiencing the beginning of the Chocolate trail.

The cocoa pods vary in colour from an earthy green through orange and pink. I was amazed at how beautiful some of them are as they hang almost precariously from the trunk of the trees (Cocoa Trees are one of the few trees in the world that bear their crop on their trunk). One little thing I did learn that was different to what I had imagined, the crops are planted in a very organic way. Meaning to say that they are not lined up in any order but rather meander around the larger canopy trees making for really natural and quaint farms. The pretty pink, red and orange pods are from the original trees and look amazing under the canopy although we were told that these are very susceptible to disease and infestation.

Much work has been done to develop new hybrids of trees resulting in more efficient growth of the pods at the farm - although not as pretty to look at.

It's so hard to imagine that the whole chocolate story starts here with this tiny little fragile flower (below). Reliant upon pollination and very delicate this little flower is the beginning of the chocolate story. As you can imagine, so many flowers are lost along the development to cocoa pod.

When ripe, the pods are harvested by cutting them from the tree usually with a long knife on a stick. The pod is then cut and split to reveal a fruity, almost meaty and pulpy centre.

We tasted the surrounding pulp and it actually tasted great! A little like lychee I thought.

 

This is the little bean after removing the pulp around it.

And very importantly this is morning tea on the farm :)

The smallest most delicate flowers tucked away in this gorgeous rainforest seem so far away from making it to the chocolate we all love.

and then still further to finally this - the best brownies found at Dello Mano :)

 

 




1 Response

Foster
Foster

June 13, 2013

I was born in Ghana and lived there till I was 15 years old before moving to Australia. My first 8 years of life I lived in one of the villages where my family own one of the cocoa farms. I remember going to the farms and coming home carrying baskets full of cocoa pods. As a little boy what I enjoyed was eating the pulp once we cut it opened before harvesting. And yes I remember it did taste like lychees. Going to the farms was just a pretty sight seeing the ground fully covered with cocoa leaves and all the different colours of the cocoa pods. Back then I didn’t it even know what the cocoa bean was used for, apart from enjoying the pulp…although you couldn’t eat too much. Now I do understand the use of the bean and I enjoy everything chocolate. Just thought I will share some of my experience.

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