Sean Seidell, graphic designer and flavor-visualizer, has made an infographic about just about all of the world's most wonderful things -- cheese, whiskey, coffee, beer. The next logical step, obviously, was chocolate.
Seidell spent three weeks delving into the complicated world of single-origin cacao, using information culled from Chocolate Science and Technology by Emmanuel Afoakwa, a professor of food science at the University of Ghana.
The resulting infographic is a broad overview of the four varieties of cacao -- Criollo, Forastero, their hybrid Trinitario, and Nacional -- and the countries that produce them. A Peruvian Criollo, for instance, has a fruity, winey, somewhat bitter flavor profile, whereas a Criollo from Venezuela adds a cocoa, nutty flavor into the mix of fruity and bitter. For a bright, fruity, floral flavor, you should go with a Sri Lankan Trinitario, whereas a Forastero from São Tomé and Príncipe will overwhelm you with a whirlwind of fruity, bitter, spicy, cocoa and grassy flavors.
Yes, grassy. It's apparently a much more common chocolate flavor than you'd expect, showing up in the Dominican Republic's Criollo Forastero and Ecuador's Arriba Nacional as well. If you're not quite that adventurous, stick with Forastero beans from Ghana. Cocoa and nutty flavors, no funny business.
And now that you've brushed up on your cacao flavor profiles, put down the Snickers and go get yourself some real chocolate.