Porcelana cocoa is the world’s most coveted of cocoa varieties due to its refined flavour profile, a perfect balance of acidity/fruit and lower levels of astringency and bitterness. Notes of nuts, caramel and slight spice are evident, with a buttery texture. Many of these nuances may not be immediately detected if you regard chocolate as just a quick fix and the tasting is not considered. Many expect Porcelana chocolate to be the most fruity and flavour packed chocolate experience of them all, but it is the delicacy, balance and long lingering flavour that ticks the widest range of boxes, however subtle. Many palates do prefer the fruit laden chocolates, mostly made with Trinitario or Criollo cocoa and the added sweetness these provide, but it is the Porcelana that is considered by true connoisseurs as the holy grail of cocoa.
The name Porcelana comes from the translucent, enamel like, unripe cocoa pods that hang from the tree, these pods are also smoother than most, adding to the effect. The unripe beans, Cotyledons, inside the pod are also pure white and typical of the true Criollo.
The Porcelana cocoa is the purest form of the Criollo cocoa and has always been regarded throughout history as the finest, demanding the highest price. It originates from the South of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. Porcelana groves are still found mostly in and around this particularly humid location. This area has seen considerable change with farmers progressively cutting down cocoa and replacing it with much less demanding crops or cattle. Porcelana is also the most fragile of cocoa varieties and highly susceptible to disease and invasive insects. This makes the Porcelana a troublesome crop and difficult to farm. In reaction to these threats to the downfall and possible extinction of such an important cocoa a germplasm bank, Estacion Experimental Chama, for pure Porcelana has been established. This working plantation is dedicated to the propogation and preservation of the Porcelana variety only and supplies seedlings to farmers interested in reviving the historic strain.
There are very few chocolate makers in the world that use Porcelana cocoa to create chocolate. Mainly due to its high cost and limited availability. Amedei, of Italy, are possibly the most successful of artisan chocolate makers to utilise this cocoa and create a limited edition, Porcelana chocolate bar and box of Porcelana napolitans each year from a years cocoa harvest. These products are in such limited supply that they are often not available.
By The Chocolate Traveller
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