Aloha! I've read that less than 10% of world cacao production is of a high enough quality to be used for "confectionary" chocolate. I'm curious. Does anyone know what percentage of Hawaiian cacao makes that very high grade.
This would be an important promotional 'stat' since less than 10% the 2.5 to 3 million tons of global production would translate too 250 to 300 thousand tons. So then, even comparativly small regional production numbers, like say 5000 tons of the very finest quality cacao, well within the total potential of Hawaii, would be 1.5% to 2% of finest global production totals.
On a global scale, those are really significant numbers!
I'm guessing that because current totals are from small farms, that the goal is to produce that very high quality for chocolatiers. But I've no firm numbers. Does anyone know???
Thanks for your input!
See this page for all papers coming out over time from our Hawaii Cacao Industry group. The 2011 September meeting document contains the most recent snapshot of what is being grown where on the islands.
I think we all agree that in order for the cacao industry to survive in Hawaii, the growers/chocolate makers need to produce the best beans and chocolate possible.
Thanks for your interest on producing high quality Hawaii cacao. The Hawaii Chocoate and Cacao Association is working towards that goal. We invite you to join us. You may contact Skip Bittenbender firstname.lastname@example.org, Amy Hammont email@example.com or Derek Lanter Derek.Lanter@dole.com.
Pam and Madel (et. al.) :
Thank you and Merry Christmas to you all!
There was a lot of useful very information there and the "quality control and branding" issue is right up there in goals and objectives. Here's what I'm trying to get at, and I hope that it's helpful and discussed further. Let me explain :
Companies like Kraft or Nestles or Hershey's purchase from all over the world, in bulk, but mostly from West Africa, where as we all know, 70% of the wolrd's cacao production is 'concentrated'. Most of that harvest will be processed and used as a food additive. You know, it goes into breakfast cereals or granola bars or drink mixes with sugars and additives. (you get the picture, I'm sure). Less than 10% (Off hand, I think it's around 8% of global production) can actually be used as those garden variety 'bars' that one may find in a vending machine or convenience store. (I'm sure we can picture that, too).
And there's an important distinction : it's not that less than 10% is used for confection, rather, less than 10% is suitable for confection!
Okay, so let's scale down to something more refined, like, say Lindt or Ferroro Rocher or Godiva. All better, but still mass produced and still, somewhat bland. (Bearable).
Scale down further, and you get to those smaller but better refined brands like say, Rocky Mountain or Scharffen Berger where there's more attention given to blending and certainly is of a better quality. In fact, they seem to use a higher percentage of what I call 'Chocolatier Quality' as opposed to simply confection quality. They also use a higher percentage of the better quality of bean, (and I have to guess since it's a proprietary blend) most likey are from those 'single source' plantations of Equador, Chile or Peru, and perhaps to a small degree, Hawaii.
Okay, (excuse my babbling, I'm almost at the point), so let's get down to he last level, the super Chocolatiers. For one example NYC luxury gourmet brands like La Maison du Chocolat, or Pierre Marcoline or Jacque Torres. (There are over 1600 similar Chocolatiers in Europe, by the way;-)
These shops (to die for) are using really unique blends which I would not doubt include those Hawaiian varieties spelled out in that PDF file. (WOW! Nice details!-)
Okay, closer towards the point : Based on available information, I can only guess that 'higher end gourmet brands' are using only a small portion of that global 8% of confectionary quality. Again, we might be talking, say half of that 8%, or less, which would amount to 100,000 to 150,000 tons, or less, of that 2.5 to 3.0 million tons of the total bulk in global production.
Hence, to the point (finally, right?) from the information I've gathered from the USDA, the Chocolate life, and scholarly sources, etc., etc. over many years, it is 'well within the potential' of Hawaii to produce in high thousands, if not low tens of thousands of tons in a two harvest year.
If that Hawaiian production mostly, I emphasize, mostly ( 80%??... 90%??...) that very special nuanced bean, sought after by the luxury gormet Chocolatiers, well then, Hawaii does indeed have a potential viable cacao industry. In fact, it would be in a cacao niche of its' own.
So that's what I was curious to know. I can only suspect that because Hawaiian grown cacao is on a very small scale, (right now) and from the PDF info, its' seems to be for mostly gourmet quality used for high quality chocolate confection. (Both locally and exported).
If so, Hawaii has a golden opportunity to continue on that path towards becoming a premier source to a niche market.
Just my musings.
Did anyone say Vanilla bean?-)