As I was tasting pure dark chocolate from single-origin Ugandan cacao—by maker Solstice Chocolate, my papillae couldn’t find appropriate descriptors for such an unparalleled flavor journey. A rollercoaster of sweet and earthy notes, void of any expectation of bitterness or astringency.
Until news about the emerging Ugandan vanilla provisions on the specialty market popped up.
At about one-tenth of the production of the most prized and exported Madagascan Bourbon vanilla, the slightly more “affordable” Ugandan version has the potential to take the fine pastry market by storm for its bolder profile characterized by a higher content in vanillin, with hints of brown dried fruit, milk chocolate, and butter.
(As an aside, I wrote “Why Fine Chocolate Is Loyal To Real Vanilla” in Issue One of Cacao Magazine).
And there are reasons chocolate from Ugandan cacao tastes a harmonious contrast of delicate and earthy notes.
Nearly all Ugandan farmers are cocoa farmers, and approximately 90% of the cacao exported from Uganda is from the Bundibugyo district. This area of the country boasts a competitive advantage in the production of cacao due to adequate rainfall and fertile soils that do not require additional inputs. Furthermore, the altitude where the cocoa trees thrive (1,200 m above sea level) makes this Eastern African country more favorable to grow cocoa than the top four Western and Central African counterparts (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon). Higher altitude, in fact, translates into a lower incidence of pests and diseases.