“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” If that friend comes with good-quality chocolate, so much the better!
In recent years we’ve become more discerning when it comes to buying chocolate here in Mallorca and rarely buy anything made from less than 70 per cent cocoa solids. My favourite chocolate available on the island is even healthier: organic raw (and vegan) chocolate, lovingly made from bean to bar by master chocolatier Tino Wolter at Cachao in Palma de Mallorca.
The story behind Cachao
Tino is a clear-skinned, healthy-looking young German who began his career as a chef in Berlin, in 2000. He worked his way up to become a chef de partie in patisserie, which increasingly involved working with chocolate. When Christine Leja, owner of the stylish group of businesses known as bconnected in Palma de Mallorca, wanted to develop a business making and selling organic raw chocolate, she asked Tino to run it. It took him more than a year to perfect the recipe and some six years for the business known as Cachao to come to fruition. As well as the recipe, Tino had to obtain all the equipment and apply for the various licences necessary.
Sourcing the beans was an important part of the process: they had to be cultivated in a sustainable and organic way and come from farmers who supply a co-operative known as Big Tree Farms in Bali. The hand-peeled beans are not roasted, to retain the raw-food antioxidants, and are simply dried and fermented.
The first step in making Cachao’s chocolate is grinding the beans, in a machine that churns the beans to paste over a four-day period. This machine lives in the back room of the premises and Tino calls it his ‘animal’, because it needs a lot of attention. “I had sleepless nights at the beginning, worrying in case it stopped working,” he admits.
After four days, Tino has to temper, flavour (where appropriate), and package the chocolate. He does all this on his own: “It’s a very young business,” he explains. “I’m alone and do everything from opening the shop to producing the chocolate, to packaging and selling it.” He works long hours and I sense that he’d like to share some of his working life with a colleague, but his passion for what he does drives him. The chance of some brief conversation is one reason he likes people to come into the shop to look around and taste some samples.
Some of Tino’s chocolate is flavoured with local Mallorcan products. He has a supplier in Sóller for oranges and one in Porreres for apricots. Flor de Sal (from the south of Mallorca) is another flavouring ingredient. All his chocolate contains 71 per cent cocoa solids, except one at 54 per cent (sweetened with coconut sugar and nectar) and a cacao purist’s treat at 100 per cent.
“It was important for us to know about the ingredients we use,” Tino explains. “The same applied to the packaging.” The wrappings and boxes are made from recycled paper and the stylish design by a friend complements the high-quality product. “It’s what we call the holistic way: knowing who is doing what, and how.”
In addition to chocolate bars and boxes of chocolate thins, Tino has expanded the range to include products such as chocolate-covered almonds and chocolate-covered coffee beans (sourced from the company Mistral, which roasts organic beans in the heart of Palma de Mallorca). There’s also a distilled product made in conjunction with the award-winning Mallorcan company Gin Eva in Llucmajor.
Of course, you’ll pay more for Cachao’s artisan organic raw chocolate than you would for the commercially produced stuff. But what you get is a guilt-free nutritionally dense product that’s incredibly satisfying and delicious. It’s a grown-up gourmet treat that shouldn’t be missed if you visit Palma de Mallorca.
Cachao’s premises are in Palma de Mallorca’s Santa Catalina’s district, facing the indoor market. It’s an attractive place with the shop at the front dedicated to sales (and samplings) of the various products. Don’t be shy! Tino will give you a warm welcome and is happy to explain the process involved in his bean-to-bar creations.
The cacao or cocoa tree is officially known as Theobroma Cacao: Theobroma being derived from the Greek for ‘food of the gods’. Why should we mere mortals miss out on such a divine product as Cachao?
Plaza Navegació 14
Palma de Mallorca
Order your chocolate online here.