“In so many ways you can say Trinidad gave cocoa to the world…Most of the cocoa varieties grown around the world were distributed largely from Trinidad. That is why Trinidad is known internationally, wherever cocoa is produced, as the home of cocoa.” Professor Pathmanathan Umaharan of The University of the West Indies Cocoa Research Centre (CRC) has championed the historic role local cocoa has made since the 18th century, from additions to Cadbury chocolates to the genetic materials that were exported to populate cocoa estates throughout the British Commonwealth. Once celebrated as the locus of the cocoa empire, this legacy of excellence continues today with the increasing use of the high yielding, disease-resistant Trinitario, a hybrid of the Criollo and Forastero cocoa strains.
Featured photo: Christopher Anderson – Cocoa Estate, Lopinot.
Trinidad and Tobago’s cocoa is reaching greater heights again with the announcement that our local farmers were winners of the prestigious International Cocoa of Excellence Awards. The 2021 winners were announced via an online ceremony with Winthrop Harewood of Tableland and Annette Mills of Aripo winning Silver, and Farmers from the Four Roads Tamana Cocoa Association receiving Bronze for the region of Central America and the Caribbean.
Trinidad and Tobago’s cocoa is reaching greater heights again with the announcement that our local farmers were winners of the prestigious International Cocoa of Excellence Awards.
The Cocoa of Excellence Awards celebrate and promote quality and diversity through a culture of excellence in the cocoa sector. All three participants were winners of the National Cocoa Awards, held at the Cocoa Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago (CDCTT) earlier this year, and their bean samples were submitted on to the Cocoa of Excellence Programme. The Programme is the entry point for cocoa producing countries to participate in the international awards.
Annette Mills’ story is one of many that reflects the true fortitude of the Trinidadian entrepreneur. Over forty years ago she began reviving the Charamal Estate in the Heights of Aripo, facing incredible challenges from large snakes entering the home to landslides, even having at times to sleep in her car. Now she is grateful, but not surprised that the estate’s beans were named in the top 50 of the best cocoa-bean samples in the world.
“In 1979 I purchased an abandoned cocoa estate of twenty acres and set about to transform it with the aid of three young men, my sons…the old fields were rehabilitated and new ones were established with grafted seedlings interplanted with citrus, bananas, various fruit trees…life was a huge learning curve, every day brought different challenges.” After enrolling in a course at the CRC and armed with a background in catering, she’s now a chocolatier crafting 75% dark chocolate bars, bon-bons and truffles as well as cocoa butter and powder. The lush estate also houses a guest lodge and offers plantation tours, a breakfast hike and chocolate-making demonstrations.
Annette’s journey is one of the many stories that reflect the dedication and innovation of our local cocoa farmers and chocolatiers.
To learn more visit Charamal Estate: 1 (868) 756-1196