Chocolate: The Art Of Fermentation, Bringing Out The “Terroir” Of A Primitive Island
by Kyoko Nakamura
@ 25 Aug 2017
Chef Narita started thinking about making his own chocolate as chocolate is a fermented food and he has the knowledge of fermentaton. Not only does he make desserts, he also bakes breads. In 2007, his desserts and breads were selected as ‘the best of New York’ by New York Times, when he was working as the chief pâtissier at L’ Atelier de Joël Robuchon New York. With this knowledge, he started thinking about making his chocolate from scratch.
“Usually, most chocolatiers make their bonbons from readymade couverture chocolates from huge chocolate manufacturers. Some ‘bean to bar’ producers order the cacao beans from specific areas or farms. But, I started fermenting my own cacao beans to create an ‘original’ flavour.” With the help of vanilla supplier Kazunori Oze, he visited the Manus province in 2015 and taught the farmers there how to ferment the cacao beans. In May 2017 was his second journey to Papua New Guinea. In this island, the locals harvest their fruits and potatoes from bushes and catch fish from the sea. People can actually live without money, but, the two biggest issues are medical care and education as they need money for these. Chef Narita told the cacao farmers, “Fermentation is an important technique that yields higher quality cacao beans. If you understand the right way to do it, people would buy the cacao beans at higher price.” He aims to bring out the pure and original 'terroir' into the taste of the chocolate.