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Tobago gets its own gourmet chocolate

Wednesday, January 20 2010

click on pic to zoom in
Duane Dove  with his prized chocolate. ...
Duane Dove with his prized chocolate. ...

DUANE DOVE launched his very first single estate chocolate bar recently in Tobago, at Le Grand Courland hotel to an audience of hoteliers, co-workers, family, friends and members of the THA including Chief Secretary Orville London.

Faithful to his Tobago roots, Duane had long had a dream to start his own cocoa plantation on the island and a vision to rejuvenate its long dormant cocoa industry.

It was no surprise then that in May 2004 he turned the sod of rich soil in Roxborough, Tobago, the north-eastern part of the island, with ideal properties for growing cocoa. Five years later, from the cocoa of this 12 hectares of cultivated soil, the chocolate bar “Tobago Cocoa Estate WI Ltd. First Harvest 2009” was created by the famous Swiss chocolatier, Francois Pralus. It is Tobago’s first and only authentic “Single Estate” chocolate bar, created from Tobago cocoa beans by a Tobagonian!

It was been a long road for Duane Dove and his hard working team, filled with much toil, trials and tribulations.

However, he had never lost sight of his goal and it is because of his dedication, passion and determination, that he was able to achieve this remarkable feat.

He is today Sweden’s only cocoa farmer and a member of the Swedish Agricultural Association (LRF). A qualified sommelier since 1999, Duane has pioneered the appreciation of fine rum in Sweden. He assembled over several years, an unrivalled rum collection at Sjögräs restaurant in Stockholm.

Building upon the restaurant’s original assortment of 84 varieties, Sjögräs today boasts of having more than 311different rum bottles on its shelves, including Trinidad and Tobago’s very own fine premium rums, Angostura 1824 and Angostura 1919, which he uses for his chocolate and rum tastings all over the world.

He is truly “Trini to the bone” as he makes every effort to promote the country and its fine quality products.

In 2007 Duane opened his shop, Small Island Chocolates & Coffee, in Södermalm, Stockholm. The shop offers connoisseurs a wide range of fine flavour and high quality chocolate and cocoa products from all over the world, as well as an authentic Caribbean ambience in which to enjoy a good espresso.

He also was able to work with one of the best know Swedish architects and designers, Catarina Giarimi, to produce the special “Cane Tulip” rum glasses.

It is a beautifully handcrafted glass specifically designed to bring out the best in a good rum.

He has been able to arrange tours with people from all over the world to Tobago, to visit his cocoa estate and see what else Tobago has to offer. There is no doubt that his Tobago chocolates will soon become well known worldwide.

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