The chocolate islands
Be sure to spend some time visiting the famous Claudio Corallo (a man who someone call "The chocolate king of São Tomé") and taste some of the finest dark chocolate in the world.
Cocoa plant was taken from Brazil to Principe and Sao Tomé for the first time around 1822. From there, it spread to Nigeria and Ghana. By 1908, Sao Tome had become the world’s largest producer of cacao with an exotic sobriquet, "the chocolate islands". Although São Tomé islands is no longer the world's biggest supplier of cacao, it is capable of exporting some of the best-quality beans on earth. Over the years, the world's cacao growers have sacrificed quality for the sake of high yields. On the São Tomé archipelago, however, there are still descendants of the original forastero plants that the portuguese brought from South America in 1822.
This kind of magic only happens in Terreiro Velho (Principe island) and Nova Moca (Sao Tomé island), two old plantation (locally known as "roça") devoted to coffee and cacao. The man who runs the place, Claudio Corallo, an Italian who spent most of his life in Africa, is working with these surviving plants, farming organically to produce a limited-yield superior cacao. Corallo has been for the past decade on a quest to produce some of the finest dark chocolate in the world. His bars, which range in cocoa content from 60 per cent to 100 per cent, and may contain ginger, arabica coffee beans, orange rind or plump raisins soaked for months in his home-made cocoa-pulp alcohol, have been going to a few small luxury stores in Europe, the United States and Japan.
Learn about Claudio’s unique chocolate making process, starting with the cacao trees on his farms on the islands of São Tomé and Principé. Get a healthy dose of antioxidants while sampling his cacao beans and tasting his dark chocolate.
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