Our Guadalcanal cocoa farmers are based along the North coast of the island, not too far from the historical Henderson airport. As education is mandatory on all the islands we buy from, after school, all the children are seen playing around the fermentation boxes and cocoa boxes. Our main farmer has four sisters and a wife that help maintain the farm. Each playing a part in the cocoa production – from finance to fermenting - which means it’s a family discussion when our Chocolate Makers goes out there to meet them and check the crops.
The fermenting of our cocoa beans takes place just 50 metres from the main houses and with the smell of acetic acid (vinegar) aroma that occurs during fermenting of cocoa being present during harvest season. Due to the showery squalls that dash in from the South Seas, our farmers are invested in solar drying enclosures in the form of raised drying beds that can be quickly covered with canvas after the 50-metre dash! This form of drying and not fire-drying - allows the true flavours inherent in the cocoa bean to come through without smokiness being a flavour note.
The island of Guadalcanal, nestled in the heart of the Solomon Islands, is home to some of the finest cocoa from this region. Honiara is the Capital of the Solomon Islands and main port for all exports, including cocoa, coconut, and tuna. The cocoa trees grow in this rich volcanic soil, protected from the midday sun beneath high coconut palms.