Thorntons, the high street chocolate retailer, is using its worldly knowledge of chocolate sourcing and creation to produce a fine collection of ‘Single Origin Chocolates” and its first ‘Organic Chocolate Truffles’ range.

Unlike standard chocolate making which involves blending cocoa beans from various regions, Single Origin Chocolates are produced with beans from one single source, hence the unique quality and taste of this new premium range.

“Consumers are showing an increasing interest in cocoa beans, where they”re grown and how they are used in our chocolates,” Thornton’s chocolatier, Barry Colenso told GTR.

“When creating the Single Origin Chocolates, cocoa beans are selected from regions where the type of soil, regional and climatic conditions contributed to their unique character, flavour and aroma – similar to grape harvesting in wine making. In turn these beans have produced chocolate which has one of the most distinctive flavours the world has to offer,” adds Colenso.

The first on the single origin map and a first for Thorntons when it comes to cocoa sourcing is Cuban dark chocolate with 67% cocoa solids producing dramatic and powerful flavours boasting a smoky aroma. “It is really very different,” Colenso says.

Cuba is accompanied by the Java milk chocolate that has an intense taste, balanced with a strong note of caramel and a light tart accent. The Papua New Guinea milk chocolate was chosen for its variety of signature tastes including cinnamon, lemon, walnut, caramel and herbs accentuated by Tahitian vanilla.

The Sao Tome dark chocolate has a rich and distinctive flavour with a mix of floral and herbal aromas. Tanzania also a dark chocolate reflects the tangy and warm taste of wild cocoa.

Having witnessed an increase in visitors to their stores requesting ‘green goods” Thorntons also created its first organic range of chocolates, which will be on sale starting September. The “Organic Chocolate Truffles “include milk, dark and extra dark truffles made from cocoa beans ethically and environmentally sourced from small farms in Bolivia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Peru.

Today the only region where cocoa continues to be cultivated in Cuba is Baracoa, the first Spanish settlement established in 1511 on the island’s eastern tip. Chocolate may have been brought to the island by the Spanish in the 1540s, from Mexico where cocoa originates, as the island had no tradition of consuming the bean, but by the 1800s it was firmly established and exports of cocoa and coffee began.

Famers and cooperatives are this year expected to collect 1,400 tonnes of cocoa beans and are working flat out to increase output given the high international market prices for the bean. Barely 20% is set aside for the domestic consumption in locally made chocolates and Cuba’s reknown Coppelia ice cream. In 2004 the cocoa of Baracoa won the Swiss Prize of Star award, ranking it among the world’s top 7% beans.