Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic. It is on the southern coast of the island of Hispaniola. Santo Domingo is both a touristic destination and home to a cocoa plantation. The latter grows trees whose fruits make it possible to extract the cocoa bean. They need a hot and humid climate to be exploitable, and that’s exactly what Santo Domingo offers to its cocoa trees.
Cocoa from Santo Domingo
Cocoa is a natural product obtained by grinding the fruit, or cocoa pod. There are three major varieties of cocoa trees. Santo Domingo has inherited the rarest: the criollo. It is a high quality cocoa variety par excellence. Indeed, it is considered to be the finest cocoa. It brings a sweet aroma to its beens with almost no bitterness as well as a delicate taste. When mature, a criollo pod is red or purple. It is recognizable by its elongated and pointed shape. These beans are almost translucent. Despite the near perfection of its beans, criollo production accounts for only 5% of global demand. This is the rarity of the product. This is why Criollo is only used in the manufacturing of luxury chocolates. This taste blends a powerful cocoa scent with a fruity and spicy nuance. It should be noted, however, that harvests in Santo Domingo are essentially from January to April.
Santo Domingo’s Place in the Cocoa Market
Given the variety of criollos, cocoas from Santo Domingo are very popular. That’s why its economy has long been dependent on harvesting cocoa. The Dominican economy, like that of the majority of Caribbean countries, used to focus on growing sugar cane, cocoa, tobacco and coffee. But in recent years, the services sector has supplanted the agricultural sector with the growth of tourism and free trade zones. However, cocoa production remains very important for Santo Domingo as it is a rare and high quality
commodity for the manufacturing of chocolate. Barry Cacao and Valrhona Chocolates are among the best chocolates that use cocoa from Santo Domingo in their product. The Dominican Republic mainly exports to the United States, emerging Latin American countries, Europe, and China. Although Santo Domingo supplies only about 1% of the world’s demand for cocoa, its production of criollos remains important in the field of [chocolate].