With Valentine’s Day coming up, now is the time to brush up on your chocolate knowledge! Impress your Valentine with these chocolate facts and you’ll be known as a chocolate expert.

Seriously Good Chocolate

Cocoa Pods

Q: Where does chocolate come from?

A: Chocolate has its origins in fruit! 

Chocolate is mainly derived from cocoa beans - a dried and fermented seed from the Theobroma cacao tree. Cocoa beans are the seed of a fruit called a cocoa pod. Theobroma means “food of the gods” in Latin, so it’s also a pretty divine food!

Q: What makes chocolate chocolate?

A: In order to qualify chocolate as chocolate, it must have cocoa butter.

However, many chocolate brands use other inexpensive oils such as palm oil or canola oil. Divine Chocolate is made with 100% pure cocoa butter which, because of its melting temperature, gives the chocolate a luxurious melt-in-the mouth feel. 

Q: How does chocolate end up looking the way it does?

A: A process called tempering.

Divine Chocolate bars

Tempering is the process of heating and cooling chocolate to a series of temperatures in order to maximize its chances of forming a glossy and balanced structure. Tempering can be an extremely tricky process, so many chocolate brands will use paraffin wax in order to give their chocolate a shelf-stable, polished sheen. Divine Chocolate uses only the highest quality ingredients and always properly tempers chocolate for an exquisite taste.
 
Discover the exceptional taste of Divine Chocolate. For Valentine’s Day, we recommend our Heart of Gold Gift Set and any bar from our Luxe Bar Collection. Find your favorites today!

Cocoa Farming

Q: Why should you never play a radio when you're harvesting cocoa pods?

A: Snakes! 

Cranking up the radio is usually a fun way to pass the time while working, but when you’re a cocoa farmer, you can never bring a radio out with you while you harvest cocoa pods! Poisonous snakes are attracted to the sound of the radio and will move near to the area where the radio is playing.

Q: What do cocoa farmers do?

A: A range of tasks requiring knowledge, skill, and physical endurance.

Cocoa Farming

Cocoa quality is determined right from the moment it starts growing on the tree. Cocoa farmers who are members of Kuapa Kokoo regularly weed around the trees to maximize the nutrients absorbed by the cocoa pods. Once the cocoa beans are harvested, the beans are put in a tent of plantain leaves where they are left to ferment for approximately 7 days in order to lock in flavor. Then, they are collected and spread out over mats to dry in the sun. Farmers continuously turn the beans and carefully pick out any poor quality cocoa beans. Drying can take up to a week. After the beans are dried, they are sorted and placed into bags which are weighed and sold.
 
The cocoa farmers who own Divine Chocolate ensure they select cocoa beans that are only “Pa Pa Paa” (which means “Best of the Best” in their local language of Twi). This premium quality selection means each bar of Divine Chocolate will have an exceptional flavor you can taste.

Q: How many cocoa beans does it take to make one bar of chocolate?

A: Approximately 88 cacao beans are used to make one 3.5 oz bar of Divine Chocolate. 

Since a typical cocoa pod contains anywhere from 20 to 50 cocoa beans, a 3.5 oz bar uses a range between two to five cocoa pods.
 
Click here to discover more about cocoa quality and cocoa farming!

The Future of Chocolate

Q: Will the world run out of chocolate by the year 2050?

A: Probably not.  

Chocolate is a billion dollar global industry, so it’s unlikely that its future will truly be in jeopardy with as much current investment that there is in it.  However, new farming approaches may need to be considered in order to adapt to climate change. What's more, cocoa farmers need to be included in any conversation regarding the sustainability of cocoa. The average age of a cocoa farmer in Ghana is 55 years old. Furthermore, many farmers earn on average 84 cents a day from cocoa farming. Cocoa farming is also extremely labor intensive. Pairing these factors together has led many young Ghanaians to explore new career paths. Thus, the question we at Divine Chocolate continue to ask is: How do we attract the next generation of cocoa farmers?

Q: How might climate change affect the chocolate industry?

A: By making cocoa growing areas unsuitable for production.

Cocoa trees grow best in climates located approximately 20 degrees north and south of the equator. In recent years, scientists have communicated concerns that climate change may potentially affect the current areas of cocoa production, causing them to become unsuitable for growing due to changes in temperature and rainfall.

Q: What is Divine Chocolate doing to support cocoa sustainability?

A: We're doing business differently with a unique business model.

Owned By - New Seal

At Divine Chocolate, the cocoa farmers who grow the finest quality cocoa for the chocolate also own 44% of the company and share in the profits.  As such, we are challenging the terms of world trade and showing that, by owning the largest share of Divine, smallholder farming families are not only sustainably remunerated as suppliers, they are also empowered to invest in their own families, farms and communities, making their own decisions about their future, and in turn making cocoa farming more attractive to the next generation.

In addition to trading with Divine Chocolate on Fairtrade terms, ensuring the Fairtrade minimum price for cocoa and the Fairtrade premium per metric tonne, Kuapa Kokoo also benefits from two additional income streams: the share of distributed profits (through co-ownership) and the Producer Support and Development Fund (PS&D). To date, over $3.6 million has been invested in PS&D – finance that is directed specifically towards chosen projects co-managed by Kuapa Kokoo and an NGO partner. The projects are aimed particularly at the empowerment of women, maintaining good governance, and testing different farming techniques

Learn more about the cocoa farmers who own Divine Chocolate by watching this 6-min. video that was recently featured on Informed with Rob Lowe: