Pollinated cacao flowers mature, over the course of five to eight months, into striking fruits called pods.
Harvesting cacao pods is labor intensive. A cacao tree flowers and produces fruit at the same time, so ripe pods have to be harvested carefully by hand by making a clean cut through the stalk with a sharpened blade. They are split open with machetes to remove the cacao beans and immediately transported to the fermentary.
From this point forward, each step in the making of chocolate must be carried out perfectly in preparation for the next, as flavor development is nurtured throughout the entire process.