Location: Anamalai, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
Varieties: Forastero, Criollo
Fermentation Style: 5-tiered wooden boxes
Drying Style: Sun dried on raised beds
Elevation: 293 meters
Harvest Season: June to July & October to December
The Anamalai Farm is a cocoa, coconut, and nutmeg farm located near the town of Pollachi, in a region famous throughout India for its high quality coconuts. The entire area, located at the southernmost foothills of India’s Western Ghats, is covered in coconut plantations. Harish Manoj and Karthi Palaniswamy, who own and operate Anamalai, have intercropped their own coconut palms with cocoa and nutmeg trees to diversify and keep the land healthy. They manage their water use with drip irrigation and keep a small herd of cows for weeding and manure compost. The cocoa is fermented in 5 tiers of wood boxes and sun dried on raised beds. While the majority of the harvest is processed for export, a small portion goes to Harish and Karthi’s local line of bean to bar chocolates, which they are producing to keep up with India’s growing demand for craft chocolate.
About Cacao in India
Cacao has been produced in India for more than 50 years. Right at the end of the British Colonial Rule in India, around1948, UK chocolate giant Cadbury set up operations in India for the distribution and sale of its products. Initially, it imported already-made chocolate from the UK. It was not long, however, before it saw an opportunity: India’s climate is suitable for cacao, so why not manufacture chocolate in India, using cacao beans grown in the country? They launched a program to introduce cacao production in the southern regions of India, complete with training programs and extensionists. To this day, the majority of cacao grown in India heads to Mondelez (the owner of Cadbury). Given the size of India, however, its cacao production remains small, representing only 0.3% of the world’s production.