Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Dutch and cocoa

Spanish Capuchin friars started to grow Criollo cacao in Ecuador by 1635. Cocoa turned into profitable business, with the Spanish having a monopoly.

When Dutch and English pirates realized the value of the cocoa bean, they captured part of the Spanish trade. The rush by European mercantile nations to claim land to cultivate cacao began in the late seventeenth century.

England had cacao growing in Jamaica by 1670; and prior to this the Dutch had taken over plantations in Curaçao when they seized the island in 1620. Moreover, from the moment the Dutch had established a naval base in Curaçao in the 1620s, Dutch merchants started to trade with Venezuela, shipping goods—including cocoa beans—to Amsterdam.

In 1560 Dutch introduced cocoa tree in Celebes and Java. By 17th century, the Dutch took over a major share of the cocoa trade between America and Europe.

The Dutch transplanted the tree to their East Indian states in the early seventeenth century and from there it spread to the Philippines, New Guinea, Samoa and Indonesia with a large degree of success made possible by the exploitation of hundreds of thousands of African slaves.

In 1828, Dutch chemist Coenraad Johannes van Houten discovered a way to treat cacao beans with alkaline salts to make a powdered chocolate that was easier to mix with water. The process became known as “Dutch processing”. "Dutched" cocoa has a reddish-brown color and a mild cocoa flavour with earthy, woodsy notes.

Dutch-process cocoa is frequently used for chocolate drinks such as hot chocolate due to its ease in blending with liquids.

The cocoa trade established in the Netherlands handles an estimated 500,000 to 600,000 MT of cocoa beans and cocoa products every year.
Dutch and cocoa

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