What makes the Nao chocolate taste so unique?
The origins of our beans
We pay a lot of attention to our beans both from the perspective of respecting small farmers and the fair payment for all participants in the production supply chain as well as the taste.
Katrien, our bean hunter, has thorough knowledge of the aromatic profiles and the arable lands, but is also thoroughly familiar with the socio-economic dimensions of the production regions, and she helps us select our production regions.
This is how we decided to work together with São Tome for our new chocolate. São Tome or, if we use its official name, Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, is a small island in the Gulf of Guinea, a former Portuguese colony and, from a historical perspective, the first port of call for ships that transport cacao from Latin America to Africa.
Various reasons made us make this choice: firstly, a fruity aromatic profile with little bitterness that we can thank the cultivation of Amelonado cacao for and cacao plants that have experienced very little hybridisation (crossed cocoa pods can be easily recognised from the stripes on their shells). In São Tomé, on the other hand, all cultivations are free from chemicals regardless of whether they are organic or not.
On a social level, to conclude, this former colony has reconquered the control over this important part of its economy. They even encourage their citizens to start growing cacao and offer land to anybody who wants it. We are very enthusiastic about this country that is getting on top of things. Another positive issue is that the cocoa cultivation does not follow a policy of scorched earth: farmers have plots where various species are grown next to each other, which guarantees a better distribution of risks.
Christophe had the opportunity during his visit in November to talk to our producers about their daily problems and their production and working methods ranging from cultivation to preparing the produce for transport.
The different phases in chocolate preparation
We can influence many steps from harvesting to forming the bars to create the Nao taste.
Discover here the different phases of producing chocolate
The other ingredients of our chocolate
Chocolate is also sugar and sometimes milk! Currently, we are using cane sugar to produce our chocolates, but we are researching the possibility to switch to Belgian beet sugar so that we can offer the shortest possible supply chain. The texture and taste of beet sugar is different and therefore this project is currently in the test phase …. to be continued! In relation to milk, we decided during our conversion to a chocolate that is produced completely from bean to bar, to purchase Belgian milk. Again, with the shortest supply chain in mind!
A chocolate with a totally controlled production supply chain that guarantees everybody a fair price. This is what we do it for to offer you a chocolate that you can enjoy guilt-free for a shared pleasure.
Discover here our production supply chain in São Tomé