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Cocoa, its Quality and Business Opportunities

A new course sought to convey the principles for making chocolate, an excellent food that brings many benefits to the body and is not difficult to use.

To support strengthening and expanding business ventures related to cocoa, chocolate, confectionery, or pastry, Zamorano’s Food Agroindustry Department (AGI) held the gourmet chocolate workshop, “Cocoa, its Quality and Business Opportunities,” that was given by Ecuadorian chocolate experts Jaime and Paulina Freire.

The intensive course ran for two days at the university and taught step-by-step how to make small batches of handmade chocolate, starting from the cocoa harvest to the production of the chocolate bar. Attendees learned about and received demonstrations of molding methodologies, the differences between chocolate and fine chocolate, tempering techniques, decorating techniques, French bonbons, Belgian bonbons, and solid bonbons.

Themes addressed included the current situation of cocoa, the future potential of cocoa, what products can be made, how to identify quality cocoa, benefits of cocoa, key processes of harvesting, fermentation, drying, and how chocolate is made from the seed to the bar, including the process and formulation.

According to Jaime Freire, an international chocolate consultant known as “Papá Cacao,” the idea is to teach about added value and thus promote entrepreneurship, teaching not just about the cocoa and but also about how it is transformed. That is why, together with his wife Paulina, he decided to open borders in Latin America and spread the idea that chocolate should not be known from the habit of eating sweet and processed products based in vegetable fats.

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“We have come to Zamorano to give a training. We have seen the quality of the cocoa and the business opportunities it presents. Most importantly, in the training we want to break the paradigm that many people believe to make chocolate you need a gigantic infrastructure with sophisticated, large, and expensive machinery, yet here we are demonstrating in a conference room in a training center and creating chocolate that has export quality,” commented Freire.

For Papá Cacao, the future for Latin America lies in its specialty cocoas, mainly in the native varieties that are more difficult to grow, and also through plans to reactivate the cocoa sectors of each country, “because cocoa is a product that takes people out of poverty.” At the end of the course, each participant received a complete manual with the step-by-step process, the topics dealt with, and a certificate endorsed by the World Cocoa Farmers Organization (WCFO).



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