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  Chocolate is a very complex and exquisite food. Chocolate begins as a fruit grown in pods on cocoa trees. At harvest, the seeds are removed from the pod and are fermented. This process allows the embryo in the seed to die. Many complex chemical reactions follow creating the initial flavour of the chocolate. After fermentation the beans must dry before they are transported to the chocolate manufacturer. The beans are roasted very carefully to further develop the chocolate flavour. The roasting and fermentation are the most critical steps in producing fine chocolate using top grade beans.  
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  The production of very fine chocolate involves the terroir. The most influential impact on terrior comes from soil conditions, weather, amount of shade, fermentation, and roasting. Fruit or nut trees grown near the cocoa trees have a subtle impact on flavour.

Cocoa trees grow in the tropics plus or minus 20 degrees from the equator. There are 4 main types of cocoa trees that grow in different parts of the world. The Criollo is called the fine flavoured variety and grows in South America.  It is difficult to grow and is easily damaged from weather and pestilence. World production of these beans is less than 10%.  The Trinitario grows in the Carribean and in Madagascar.  World production is approximately 10-15%.  Trinitario beans are best described as very robust and aromatic.  The third variety is the Arriba from Ecuador.  The Arriba accounts for less than 10% of world production.  The flavour is best described as floral.  The fourth variety is the Forastero which grows in Africa and accounts for approximately 80% of world production.  This variety is very hardy and easy to grow.  The Forastero variety is what North Americans and Europeans regularly consume.

Commercial grade beans are bulk beans that are purchased on the commodities market.
  These beans range from good grade to
  poor grade, unfermented mixed with fermented, and a whole host of other factors.  Chocolate manufacturing companies that buy these beans have no control over the quality they are purchasing.  To prevent poor tasting chocolate, the cocoa butter is removed from the cocoa bean and is put through a process of deodorization to get all the unwanted flavours out of the chocolate. The deodorized cocoa butter is added back into the chocolate.  Unfortunately this also removes a portion of the good chocolate flavour.  Most traditional chocolate is made from commercial grade beans.  This is the most common chocolate that consumers in North America and Europe eat.  A majority of this chocolate is the Forastero variety coming from Africa.  There are over 1 million small farms growing cocoa.  It is said that there are 200,000 child labourers working in this industry, and out of that number, approximately 20,000 children are slaves.

Noble beans are good quality cocoa beans.  Companies purchasing these beans are paying fair trade or higher prices to acquire them.  The beans are grown with extreme care and attention.  These chocolate producing companies that have their own plantations in various parts of the world controlling every aspect of chocolate production from tree to chocolate bar. This is the chocolate that retains the awesome terrior chocolate flavour!
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