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Madagascar Chocolate

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'''Madagascar is not widely known for making chocolate, at least not like the chocolate nations of Switzerland and Belgium. But as many most chocolate experts would agreeknow well, Madagascar is a high quality cocoa producing nation boasting two major bean-to-bar chocolate factories, making especially dark and above all delicious chocolates from naturally organic cacao grown in the northwest [[Ambanja]] region of the country.'''
{| class="captionTable" style="border-spacing: 4px;"
|align="right" style="padding: 2px 0px 2px 0px;"|[[File:Chocolaterie Robert 020.jpg|195px]]
|colspan="3"|[[File:Magnify-clip.png|right|link=File:Chocolaterie_Robert_024.jpg]]Pralines sold at one of Robert's ''[[La ChocolatiéreChocolatière]]'' boutique boutiques in [[Antananarivo]]
Madagascar has in fact a long history of chocolate production, dating back to the French colonial times, 1937 to be precise. In those days, Madagascar was a major cocoa exporter in supplying a metropolitan France. Today Madagascar's cocoa production is tiny in comparison to for example the Ivory Coast, which produces about 38% of the world's cocoa, while almost . Almost all cacao grown in Madagascar comes come from an area about 50 kilometres in radius and represents less than 1% of the world's cocoa production. The cacao plantations can be found in the [[Sambirano]] area region within the Ambanja district. The area is named after the Sambirano River which runs from the foothills of Madagascar's highest peak [[Maromokotro]] through the Sambirano Valley and the countryside and the Sambirano Valley eventually into the Indian Ocean. Due to natural sesonal flooding of the river, the soil along the Sambirano riverbed and its surrounding cacao plantations is are highly enriched with minerals and nutrients. Unlike cacao producing regions in most other countries, the Sambirano region is unique in that it yields cacao all year round. There are plenty of Criollo (the best highest quality cacao beans), Forastero (the most common commonly found variety) and Trinitario (a cross between Criollo and Forastero).
[[File:Cinagra 070.jpg|thumb|600px|none|Crushed Malagasy cocoa with splinters of cocoa nibs ready for processing into liquid chocolate]]
Most if not all cacao plantations in Madagascar are small family farms run farms, by families who have been growing cacao in a their natural environment without the use of fertilisers or other and mass farming methods for generations. And while While slave labour is commonly reported in the cacao industry, especially in the Ivory Coast, it is not existing non-existent in Madagascar. Much of Sambirano's cacao trees stand on former fruit plantations dating back to the French colonial periodtimes. The resulting cocoa has strong hints of citrus fruit and is naturally sweet, which makes the cacao Malagasy cocoa especially suitable for producing production of non-bitter dark chocolates chocolate without use of excessive sugar content or other additives. Furthermore, the final Madagascar chocolate product is usually rich in antioxidant flavoinoids and as well as other healthy and reputedly aphrodisiac ingredients found in high proportions in pure Malagasy cacao. <!--(phenylethylamine??)-->
[[Chocolaterie Robert]] and [[Cinagra]] are the only two bean-to-bar chocolate producers in Madagascar. Their chocolates are of single Malagasy origin, meaning they grow their own using cacao as well as make grown in Madagascar with their chocolates within products made and packaged entirely in Madagascar.
Chocolaterie Robert dates back to 1937, when a French couple, Mr and Mrs Robert, set up Madagascar's first chocolate factory in [[Brickaville]]. Today, Chocolaterie Robert's bars can be found everywhere in Madagascar, from small village shops to upmarket confectionery stores in metropolitan areas. In 2006 Chocolaterie Robert's ''Mora Mora'' and ''Sambirano'' brands respectively won the Chocolate Academy's Silver Cup and the Best Buy Ethical Award. In 2013 Robert launched a range of bars branded [[Chocolat Madagascar]] intended mainly for export.
[[File:Cinagra 013.jpg|thumb|600px|none|Cinagra Tsar Noir 100%]]
The more recently established Chocolaterie Cinagra has been making chocolate at their [[Antananarivo]] based factory since 2006, also using single origin cacao grown on plantations within the Sambirano region. In 2009 their 63% cocoa based ''Tsar'' bar won the first price at the [ Salon de Chocolat Paris] in France. Since 2008, Cinagra produces chocolate for [[Madécasse]] - a US importer and brand, sold primarily in the US and Canadaas well as Germany.
A third, smaller but nonetheless appreciated Madagascar chocolate brand is [[Chocolaterie Colbert]]. Although they do not buy and process cacao beans directly from farmers and can therefore not be classified a bean-to-bar producer, Colbert's recipes are their own and since they do buy processed cocoa from both Chocolaterie Robert and Cinagra, their final products are of single Malagasy origin. Colbert's highly priced range of pralines and chocolate bars is sold only at the [[Pâtisserie Colbert]] in Antananarivo, part of [[Hotel Colbert]]. Their bars and pralines, handmade and gift-wrapped by a small team of talented chocolatiers, are always sold fresh at the counter and make ideal presents for special occasions.<br clear="all">
[[File:Chocolaterie Colbert 01.jpg|600px|thumb|none|Chocolaterie Colbert's dedicated team of chocolatiers proudly presenting their freshly made pralines]]
Madagascar is not a highly industrialised nation by any measure, including its farming methods. Malagasy cacao therefore remains relatively short in supply. Perhaps this is why Madagascar chocolates 's chocolate brands are not easily found in stores outside Madagascar. In fact, at the time of writing, chocolate brands made as well as sold in Madagascar is are available only available in a few select stores in France, South Africa and Japan. A tip for anyone visiting the large island: Buy and bring as much Bring as you can many of Robert's, Cinagra's and Colbert's bars and pralines as possible back with you home, because as you will not likely find as high quality chocolate at the same price anywhere else as reasonable prices elsewhere in the world!
== Additional information ==
* [[Chocolaterie Colbert]]
Alternatively, for those who do not have the opportunity to If you can't buy chocolate in Madagascar, there are numerous various chocolate makers in various other countries offer [[Chocolate makers using Madagascar cocoa from |Madagascar in their products from either exported and pre-processed cocoabased chocolate]], or if directly either made from the raw cacao beans, in which case they qualify as bean-tobar or from pre-bar chocolate makerscrushed cocoa exported from Madagascar. Such products However, such brands are however usually only mostly available in a few select specialised gourmet chocolate stores or online shops , usually at considerably higher relatively high prices:.
* [[Patric Chocolate]] - a US-based micro, bean-to-bar, chocolate maker.* [[Amano Chocolate|Amano Artisan Chocolate]] - a US-based bean-to-bar chocolate factory making a 70% Malagasy cocoa bar.* [[Amedei]] - an Italian-based chocolate maker producing a bar with 70% cocoa content. * [[Coppeneur Chocolate]] - a German chocolate maker which has a small cocoa plantation on [[Nosy Be|Nosy Be Island]]. * [[Domori Chocolate|Sambirano Madagascar]] - a 70% cocoa bar by the Italian chocolate maker Domori.* [[Madécasse]] - a chocolate produced in Madagascar by Cinagra and exported to the US and Canada.* [ Madagascar Noir] - a 65% cocoa based chocolate with a light vanilla flavour, part Lindt's Excellence range.* [ VAO VAO] - a chocolate produced in Madagascar by Chocolaterie Robert and exported to the US.* [ Sambirano] - a 70% cocoa Madagascar bar from ''Rougue Chocolatier'' in the US.* [[J.D. Gross Madagaskar| Madagaskar]] - a 46% cocoa chocolate by J.D. Gross, sold in the German supermarket chain ''Lidl''.* [[Madanga]] - a 39% cocoa bar made by German chocolate maker ''Rausch Schokolade''.* [ link =CIHRyv761aYCFQY03wodRhkpHg Pierre Hermé Paris] - a 75% Madagascar cocoa chocolate sold in France.* [ Pralus] - a 75% cocoa Madagascar bar sold in France.* [ Thorntons] - a 32% cocoa Madagascar bar.<!--== Additional information == ****

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