Brasso Seco, a chocoholic paradise. While every kind of dark chocolate produced at Brasso Seco is absolutely phenomenal, what makes it truly special is how it involves the community. All of the ingredients, excluding brown sugar, are grown, developed, and utilized in the community. From cacao to bar, every step happens within the community, engaging and employing the members of the community, and allowing the community to generate resources for themselves. They also empower and enable other communities in the area to take on similar endeavors.
We started off our chocolate-filled day with chocolate tea which is quite bitter on its own so I would recommend adding brown sugar and milk. While we drank our tea the proprietor of the chocolate endeavor educated us on what their mission is. The chocolate-making takes place within the community center which is run by the village council and the Brasso Seco Chocolate Company rents a space to industrialize the dried cocoa beans into chocolate from the village. Everyone who contributes to the chocolate is a local and almost all of the ingredients are grown by locals including the cacao and the coffee incorporated into two of the flavors. They also use all parts of the cacao plant to create different ingredients. The oil from fermentation can be used to make alcohol. The fat is rendered into pure food-grade cocoa butter, which is much higher quality than the cocoa butter sold in drugstores. White chocolate is cocoa butter with white sugar and milk powder, this is not a kind of chocolate they make here. Cocoa powder is what is left over after the bean and fat have been removed. And the shell is returned to the forest to fertilize the trees and provide a space for the pollinators to lay their eggs. According to them, Trinidad and Tobago were the second largest producer of cocoa in the world. Cacao has a myriad of health benefits, such as chewing the cacao seeds (the purple and white part prior to the fermentation and drying process, lowers cholesterol.) You can also eat everything on the inside of the cacao shell, and each part will have a different flavor. You will also find different flavor profiles between different hybrid species of Cacao plant and based on age. These flavor profiles translate to the chocolate so all of the seeds that go into one chocolate bar are usually from the same plant if not the same pod. Approximately ten seeds are used in each chocolate bar from Brasso Seco.