Production of the cocoa plant, which is the basis of chocolate, is concentrated in the region at 10 degrees North and 10 grades South of Ecuador. Fernando Cortez imported cocoa to Spain from South America in the year 1528. For over 100 years Spain tried, but was unsuccessful, cultivating it in the Caribbean zone, until the Capuchin monks managed to cultivate it successfully in Ecuador. Towards the end of the century 17 other nations succeeded in their efforts to cultivate cocoa in the Caribbean and South American region: Curaçao (The Netherlands) Jamaica (Great Britain), Brazil (Portugal), Guyana and Granada (France).
In the 19th century and owing to increasing demand, cocoa was introduced into Africa and was successfully cultivated in Cameroon as from 1925. At first it was consumed by rich social classes as a strong, distilled liquor, but thanks to the innovations thought up by a thriving industry, production costs were decreasing, which opened the door to the large-scale development of new products, such as solid chocolate. By the end of the 19th century, chocolate was considered to be a basic food in the typical French family.
There are two varieties of cocoa, the Forastero (Stranger) and the Criollo (Creole). The two are widely different, due to climatic conditions or the distance from or elevation above sea level, resulting in different aromas. LW Chocolatier combines the two to achieve a balanced taste of the very highest quality.
East Africa is the biggest producer of cocoa in the world with almost 70% of worldwide production. The countries that produce most are Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. The countries outside this region that produce cocoa are: Indonesia, Brazil, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and Malaysia.