This article speaks with pride of the “Grand cru” cacao or high quality cocoa beans being grown in Martinique, especially in the Regional Natural Park of Martinique [Parc Naturel Régional de la Martinique] which initiated in June 2013, a program of planting cocoa, coffee and vanilla on farmlands dedicated to agroforestry. According to Le Blog Région Martinique, this initiative is beginning to bear fruit.
The park moves towards the launch of “grand cru” cocoa production. This new quality product offers real opportunities in Martinique. This is also an opportunity for the people of Martinique to get reacquainted with their agricultural crops. This will also contribute to the recovery of the agricultural sector with the transformation of the high quality cocoa beans into chocolate and other products for export to overseas markets. The best Caribbean example of this is Grenada, which produces an extra fine variety of cocoa. The island is known worldwide for its expertise in this field.
Daniel Chomet, President of the Regional Natural Park; José Maurice, administrator of the regional agribusiness center of Martinique; as well as technicians and professionals of this sector went to Granada [to see the plantations and cocoa processing]. Daniel Chomet says: “It was really an extraordinary experience. There are beautiful possibilities in process for our country in this field.” The goal of this mission is the transfer of know-how and sharing experiences. The group visited cacao plantations, processing units (for fermentation and drying of cocoa beans) and work sessions with farm managers, cooperative coordinators, and chocolate specialists active on the international stage. [. . .]
From a chemical standpoint, chocolate is one of the most complex products known to science with more than 300 aromatic compounds identified. Cocoa trees are classified into three major groups: Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario. Each one has different notes and flavors. Criollo and Trinitario provide the foundation for the finest cocoas and are sought after for their strong floral, fruity or woody aromas. Forastero is appreciated for its intense chocolate flavor.
For more information on cocoa production in Martinique, see http://www.region-martinique.mq/blog/cacao-grand-cru-chez-nous/