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Folders  |  Claudio Corallo, chocolate and coffee
Claudio Corallo, chocolate and coffee
Sanda Samitca
Claudio Corallo, chocolate and coffee

Of Italian origin, Claudio Corallo trained in tropical agronomy and went to Africa in 1974. He started working in Zaire, first as a specialized voluntary worker, then in the coffee plantations. In the Autumn of 1979 he started to work on his own coffee plantations.

After a stay in Bolivia, he went back to the African ‘continent’ (to São Tomé and Principe in fact) early 1990s, where he started to work in cocoa. After several trials, by the end of the 90s he owned two plantations: one for coffee, the other for cocoa, which produce the raw materials he now uses.

Claudio loves to say that he is not a chocolate expert. However, he did not start working with chocolate by chance: it was the result of a long journey of experimentation and research in order to find out and understand the secret of how a cocoa bean becomes quality cocoa that is strong but never bitter.

Claudio’s two best sellers for the moment are the roasted beans and his ‘100% chocolate’; these really show off his expertise and how well he masters the chocolate-making process! In Gastronomica magazine: The Journal of food and culture, (Nesto Bill, Discovering Terroir in the world of chocolate, 2010, vol 10, n°1), the author compares Claudio Corallo’s work to that of wine experts cultivating vines and then producing wine.

The beans are produced and harvested in Principe, before the pods are shelled by hand in São Tomé, then roasted and made into cocoa paste and chocolate.

His business is a family one. Bettina and their three children all contribute to the smooth running of this small company, where work starts in the islands and ends in a boutique-laboratory on Rua Cecilio da Sousa in Lisbon. For the last three years, his son Niccolò takes care of the administrative tasks and the chocolate: carefully selecting the beans and managing the specific production processes for each type of chocolate. Bettina runs the shop. Claudio Corallo shares his time between São Tomé and Principe (and more recently Lisbon) where he supervises the plantations and the production of both coffee and cocoa.

Claudio is passionate about his work and loves to share his knowledge and explain what he does to others. His enthusiasm is contagious when he makes us taste a cocoa bean which, according to Claudio will never be bitter if it is good… and it’s true! It’s funny to learn that the non-roasted bean with its olive-like taste, is also used to prepare savoury dishes.

Then tasting goes on with the 100% chocolate. Here again, it’s a piece of art. You cannot eat the whole bar in one go. It’s a matter of being refined and delicate. It’s a bit like tasting spirits, explains Claudio. The 100% must be eaten in small pieces that you let melt on your tongue so that the palate has time go get used to the taste. It’s only on the third or fourth piece that the whole aroma can be appreciated fully. In fact, what’s impressive is not a bitter taste, but a lack of sweetness, which is very different!

What is also surprising is that the only difference between the cocoa bean and the 100% chocolate is the texture or graininess. In other words, when the cocoa is made into a paste it contains smaller particles that take less time to release their full flavour into the mouth.

Claudio’s basic range of chocolates (in bars or loose) are the 100%, 80% sablé, 75%, 73.5% with cocoa nips and the 70% with orange or ginger. They all come in simple, environmentally-friendly wrapping.

But Claudio is still trying out new things. One of the novelties you must try is the cocoa sorbet. Forget about your traditional creamy and sugary ice creams. Here you have just the best quality pure cocoa with sugar and water. Nothing else : a pure delight ! The best way of tasting this sorbet is in the shop, but even at home, everyone will love it. For something hot, try the milk-free hot chocolate with its unique taste and sophistication.

In Claudio’s experiments, chocolate-covered ginger balls, raisins macerated in alcohol (cocoa alcohol — of course — because our agronomist and chocolate expert has distilled cocoa pulp with surprising results !) then covered in chocolate and no-doubt more and newer delights can be found in the shop where Claudio and his family continue to experiment and produce delicacies.

I hope that you are now in the mood to go and try the whole range of chocolates and coffees on offer!

 

Claudio Corallo Chocolate and Coffee

Rua Cecílio de Sousa, 85 (by Príncipe Real)

Tel. 21 386 21 58

http://www.claudiocorallo.com


  
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