All over the cocoa producing world, beans from Trinidad & Tobago are prized for the production of fine quality chocolates. Even those cocoa growers and producers who may not know exactly where Trinidad and Tobago lie – the twin island country in the south Caribbean on the shoulder of South America – they know the name Trinitario, the strain that produces a reliable supply of cocoa for chocolate lovers everywhere.
The first Trinitario beans were bred in Trinidad (from flavour rich Criollo stock and hardier Forastero trees) after the disastrous “blast” of 1727 which wiped out many estates. Today, Trinitario stock is desired everywhere for flavor. Rancho Quemado (named “burned land” through the Spanish heritage) in south Trinidad is one of those old estates currently being rehabilitated.
Trinidad may be considered the modern home of cocoa. The Cocoa Research Unit (CRU) has been housed at the University of the West Indies (previously the site of the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture) since 1930. CRU also has the mandate to conserve and distribute material from its internationally recognised germplasm collection designated the International Cocoa Germplasm, Trinidad (ICG,T).
Rancho Quemado Estate spans 45 acres and so far 25 acres have been rehabilitated. Within a year of initial rehabilitation, the cocoa production on the estate quadrupled. The 5000 Trinidad Select Hybrid (TSH) clones that were planted in January 2009 are now boasting beautiful pods.
At Rancho Quemado Estate, there are farmers who are passionate about getting things right, from harvesting to post harvesting, because they understand what can be produced from good processing on their part, and they feel pride in knowing their important role in the tree to chocolate process.
Rancho not only produces cocoa but also honey, citrus and tilapia. The estate has recently opened for tours geared towards schools and families, who can learn about the process of cocoa and honey. There is also a pond where children can fish for the tilapia and sheds can be rented for a family picnic amongst the cocoa trees.
Unless otherwise specified, all Cocobel cocoa and chocolate products are made from Trinitario beans harvested at Rancho Quemado. We are proud to have this access – within our islands, within our brand – to the finest cocoa in the world.
For information on visiting Rancho Quemado Estate, please write us at: