In Nicaragua, a school is born to create ‘food of the gods’
By Wilder Pérez R.
Managua, May 16 (EFE).- In recent years, Nicaraguan cocoa has established itself as some of the best in the world for making chocolate, and now the country is about to reach new heights with the establishment of a school where people will learn to make the “food of the gods.”
Privileged with cocoa of the Trinitarian species, sometimes Creole, the Nicaraguan beans stand out for their unique aroma and flavor.
During a tasting exercise, the chocolate chef María José Tejero demonstrated how Nicaraguan cocoa allows the production of “divine” chocolate with no more ingredients than the seed itself.
The best thing, according to the chef originally from Venezuela, is that in Nicaragua there is enough raw material and quality to supply the world using chocolatiers, in this case, through the Semilla Cacao Group school.
“What we are doing is opening a parent company in Managua to train future chocolatiers. Nicaragua has wonderful cocoa, with a quality that the world is looking for, and in order to have them ordering chocolate from us, we have to have chocolatiers,” she told EFE.
Among the milestones of Nicaraguan cocoa in recent years is its entry in 2015 to the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) list of countries producing 100 percent fine cocoa origin. Another was its listing as one of the 17 best in the world in the 2015 International Cocoa Awards held in France.
Having the raw material, the chef pointed out that the only thing missing is the chocolatiers capable of sustaining themselves in the market, so at the new school they will be trained with the “I learn, I practice, I undertake” method, with the support of the Association of Producers and Exporters of Nicaragua (APEN).
“We make people learn, work on the product and go to the more formal market, not the trial one. I want an entrepreneur to formalize, to have his own bank account, his own brand and to work. And when one has all that, one should be able to take off,” she explained.
This way, the new chocolatiers will not limit themselves to tempering the chocolate and turning it into a bar, but will know how to choose where the seed they need comes from based on the bitterness, acidity and astringency they are looking for.
They will also learn how to evaluate the production process, husking, and how to professionally commercialize their chocolate, supported by a network of colleagues who will always have the technical support of the school.
Tejero said that one of the characteristics of the school is that the students will learn to make “bean to bar” chocolate mostly with the tools they already have in their possession, in the kitchens of their houses – except for some that they will have to bring in.
“It is a wonderful way for those people who have always had restlessness, who like cooking and who have always wanted to start a business in chocolate or ‘bean to bar’ chocolate,” she said.
The school will begin in Managua next month with courses that will range from making chocolate bars and truffles, to sensory analysis and preparation of cocoa liquor.
When talking about Nicaraguan cocoa and its potential, Tejero, who has been in the country for two and a half years, gets excited.
“It was a surprise to arrive here and to have been able to enter the world of cocoa and chocolate as I did. Each cooperative that I go to, each highway that I travel in Nicaragua is a gift to the soul,” she said. EFE