FCIA Fine Chocolate Glossary

Spotlight on Tara Durieux & Criollo

In 2019, I graduated with my BSc in Sustainable Value Chains. During my studies, I went abroad for two internships, one in Indonesia and one in Colombia. Both assignments were related to cacao production. This is where I fell in love with the commodity and the community of cacao producers, chocolate makers, academics, and everything in between.

After I graduated with my master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Utrecht last summer (2022), I had this strong gut feeling that I should go back to the cacao industry and learn as much as I could about cacao and chocolate. So I did.

I started working as an intern at FCIA last September to help set up the Fine Chocolate Glossary. I found it an inspiring project. To this day, I am grateful that I have helped build a shared language among different actors in the cacao and chocolate industries.

Now I have moved on from my role as Glossary intern, and am the new Fine Chocolate Glossary Manager.

When I started my internship, I had also applied to the fine chocolate tasting course at the International Institute of Chocolate & Cacao Tasting (IICCT). In that course, I learned more about the history and production of chocolate, terminology commonly used in the chocolate industry, and how to taste fine chocolate.

The IICCT course is where I first came across the term “criollo.” It caused a lot of confusion, and I realized that it meant different things to different people.

So, I challenged myself to author this complex but absolutely crucial term.

Here is an excerpt from my definition:

Criollo is a term that refers to a genetic cluster of the species Theobroma cacao. The word criollo has also been adopted to market chocolate using beans of that genetic cluster. It is also a colloquial term in Latin America. It can therefore mean something completely different to a European chocolate maker than an Ecuadorian cacao farmer for example.”

To read the whole definition, click here.

Spotting cacao trees in Guatemala in November 2022; photo courtesy of Tara Durieux

Eating its delicious pulp; photo courtesy of Tara Durieux

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