Cocoa Journey
Terroir in Chocolate
In wine-making, there is a concept called “terroir,” which refers to the combination of various environmental conditions in which the grapes are grown, such as soil composition, elevation, and climate, that gives wine a distinct flavor and personality. Chocolate-making is no different. L.A. Burdick Chocolates presents unique and outstanding terroirs of some of the most celebrated cocoa-growing regions around the world. We invite you to explore the delicious array of terroir expressed in our Single Source Dark Chocolate Bars and Single Source Dark Drinking Chocolates. Our chocolate made from Madagascan beans is bright and fruity with a hint of vanilla. Our Ecuadorian chocolate is robust and earthy with notes of black tea and Indian spices. Terroir is the taste of place. Each of our Single Source chocolates expresses the unique character of the place they come from; it has deep and complex flavors that taste of everything surrounding the cocoa tree.
Beyond Cocoa Percentage
Like wine, chocolate is a complex food. It reflects terroir, varietal character, and human contributions, such as the fermentation method and roasting technique. It is a multi-layered experience that cannot be represented by a single measure such as the cocoa content. While cocoa content is a valid consideration, it is important to note that it is a measure of quantity, not necessarily quality. The cocoa percentage indicates the percentage of cocoa content of the chocolate. The higher the cocoa content, the lower the sugar content. However, higher cocoa content does not necessarily mean higher quality or better flavor. In a chocolate made from inferior beans, higher cocoa content means more of something inferior. While many excellent chocolates have high percentage of cocoa, so do many poor-quality chocolates. Choosing chocolate strictly based on the cocoa percentage can be likened to going to a wine shop and looking only for wines with, say, 14% alcohol content. It is too simplistic. Many things come together to decide the quality of the chocolate: terroir, harvesting, fermenting, drying, storage, roasting, grinding, mixing, and conching. Like many other beautiful and distinctive foods, keep an open mind, taste with curiosity, and enjoy.
“Chocolate, like wine or cheese, has different flavors. I want people to look at chocolate as a food, not a candy.”
– Larry Burdick, Founder
The “Spice Isle”
Our continuous pursuit of superlative-quality, full-flavored chocolate led us to the island nation of Grenada in the Caribbean. The quality of the beans and the country’s rich history of cocoa production have inspired us to partner with Grenada’s independent cocoa farmers in building a cocoa-processing facility. This partnership benefits 5,000 cocoa farmers of Grenada by providing them the majority-ownership of the chocolate factory. This unique position allows the farmers to take more beans out of the commodity market and into chocolate and other value-added products, in turn making cocoa farming more profitable for them, many of whom live in impoverished conditions. The partnership also gives L.A. Burdick Chocolates a unique direct access to exceptional chocolate. Many of our chocolate bonbons, bars, drinks, and pastries contain chocolate made through the partnership with the farmers in Grenada. Redolent with the scents of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and bay leaf, Grenada is known as the “Spice Isle.” The lush mountain terrain and rich volcanic soil host a bounty of heady tropical flowers, fruit and nut trees, and scattered amongst them – cocoa trees. Grenadian cocoa expresses unique characteristics unlike cocoa from any other growing region. A robust chocolate, it has an uncommon, bright forefront acidity with layered complexity of nutmeg, banana, and molasses notes and a long finish.