Scientists are attempting to understand where they originate to more reliably reproduce chocolate’s special flavors. According to Luisa Vicinanza-Bedi, an artisan chocolatier in Nottingham and the creator of Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates, she has always loved chocolate, but when she learned about all the flavors and nuances of single-origin chocolate—the incredible flavor notes, like a fine wine—her eyes were opened. A large portion of the chocolate we consume is created from a blend of cacao from different farms, regions, or even nations. According to Ms. Vicinanza-Bedi, the use of a single bean variety from a single farm gives the chocolate a distinctive flavor. They trade directly with their farmers and quality check the beans. They do a cut test, a weight test, moisture analysis, an aroma test, and a pilot line test. To get the most out of each harvest and produce consistently high quality, Prof. Irene Chetschik, leader of the Research Group for Food Chemistry at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), is inventing new technical techniques that can affect the cocoa flavor at the molecular level.

Dr. David Goupaulchan, an international research fellow at the University of Nottingham, has been researching the bacteria that are present during fermentation, how their growth dynamics are impacted by their environment, and how they contribute to the emergence of flavor. Later this year, his study will be included at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition. He emphasized that fermentation had a significant influence on the flavor and quality of chocolate. These processes, however, remain largely unchecked. Consumers would receive better chocolates as a result of a greater understanding of the process, while farmers would receive higher prices.