|Roughly two-thirds of the entire world's cocoa is produced
in Western Africa, with close to half of the total sourced from Côte
d'Ivoire. Like many food industry producers, individual cocoa farmers are at
the mercy of volatile world markets. The price can vary from £500 ($945) to
£3,000 ($5,672) per ton, in the space of just a few years. While investors
trading in cacao can dump shares at will, individual cocoa farmers cannot
increase production or abandon trees at anywhere near that pace. When cocoa
prices drop, farmers in West Africa sometimes cut costs by using slave
labor. It has been alleged that an estimated 90% of cocoa farms in Côte
d'Ivoire have used some form of slave labor in order to remain viable.
According to the World Cocoa Foundaton, some 50 million people around the
world depend on cocoa as a source of livelihood.
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|Despite some disagreement in the EU about the definition,
chocolate is any product made primarily of cocoa solids and cocoa fat. The
different flavours of chocolate can be obtained by varying the time and
temperature when roasting the beans, by adjusting the relative quantities of
the cocoa solids and cocoa fat, and by adding non-chocolate ingredients.
Production costs can be decreased by reducing cocoa solid content or by substituting cocoa butter with a non-cocoa fat, but allowing chocolate to be made with vegetable oils could have serious consequences for the millions of growers whose livelihoods depend on cocoa.
|There are two main jobs associated with
creating chocolate candy, chocolate makers and chocolatiers. Chocolate
makers use harvested cacao beans and other ingredients to produce couverture
chocolate. Chocolatiers use the finished couverture to make chocolate
candies (bars, truffles, baked goods, etc.).