Sao Tome: Claudio Corallo Chocolate
Claudio Corallo Chocolate is considered one of the world’s best chocolate. The story is fascinating – an Italian guy who spent half his life trying to grow a perfect coffee in Zaire (present day Congo), was pushed out of the country by the civil war and moved to São Tomé & Principe hoping to grow coffee here. Once in the island, he studied the long history of cocoa growing here and set on a mission to develop and select the best premium cocoa beans and then make the world’s best chocolate. Years of laboratory experiments followed to select cocoa plants that would lack the cocoa bitterness and thus make a pure sweet chocolate. The cocoa is grown mostly on Principe (together with some coffee and white pepper) and then made into chocolate on São Tomé, all manually, in a small-batch factory. No additives are used – no vanilla and no milk! Varieties of chocolate include – pure 100% cocoa (mostly impossible to eat), 80% cocoa with sugar crystals, 73.5% cocoa with ground sugar and crushed whole cocoa beans, and then a variety of flavored ones – coffee, candied orange, ginger, and moscato grape distillates. Twice a week, it’s possible to do a tour of the factory and get to taste all of this amazing stuff. The chocolate is indeed one of the smoothest, purest, and authentic tasting in the world, but I have to admit that I kind of missed the bitterness.