Foregoing the traditional dairy-based milk powder that is ubiquitous to milk chocolate, we opted for oat milk powder which not only makes it vegan, but also enhances the cereal-like quality of the Ugandan cacao. On top of that, we've blended in sourdough breadcrumb bits into the chocolate to give it a nice gentle crunch. Providers by Onyx supplies our local cafes with incredible breads and pastries, so we decided to use the wonderful sourdough to create just the right size pieces to mix into the vegan milk chocolate.
Located in Bundibugyo, Western Uganda, Semuliki Forest cacao is grown by 1,002 organic smallholder farmers in the region, 52% of whom are women. Latitude Trade Co. (LTC), the company that processes and exports this cacao, has organized 6 rural collection points for farmers to access, where they sell fresh cacao weekly into the network and receive cash at the point of sale. LTC's centralized fermentation facility and warehouse is located in the village of Bumate, at the base of the hills leading into the mountains.
The quality of fresh cacao is evaluated by bag and hand sorted prior to filling of fermentation boxes. Beans are sampled and cut from the start of the 5th fermentation day onward. Prior to drying, beans are again separated based on quality of fermentation and consistency within the box. After drying and sorting, beans are sampled and cut to sort fermentation levels prior to blending. All dry cacao is stored and aged in breathable jute bags in a central store. Moisture is regularly checked every 2-3 weeks to ensure proper levels are maintained and re-drying is completed as necessary. Once the harvest and rainy season is over, specific bags and boxes are evaluated, and then blended to achieve a uniform and consistent product. All blended lots are evenly mixed and identified by a colored tag and lot number.