4
| Chefs |

Ricardo Trillos of Cao Chocolates on the Fairchild Chocolate Festival, Single-Origin Cacao, and Life as a Chocolatier

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

If not for cacao beans, we wouldn't have chocolate, not to mention Fairchild's 8th Annual International Chocolate Festival, a fest scheduled to take place from January 24 to 26.

With enticing cooking demos, a "Choco-Walk," bean lectures, decadent tastings, and even poetry -- guess who's the muse -- this year's event will be packed with activities.

We spoke with Ricardo Trillos, master chocolatier of Cao Chocolates in Miami and a Venezuelan native, who will offer up truffles, bars, and other treats at the festival.

See also: Icebox Cafe: Organic Eats in Sunset Harbour

Short Order: Where do you get your cacao from?

Ricardo Trillos: We have used beans from different regions in Venezuela like Chuao, Carenero, and Trincheras, among others. We don't mix our beans, so they have a unique flavor. It's a flavor with identity and more complexity. Most chocolate here in the United States is used with combinations of cacao beans.

I use beans from Venezuela because they're rated the top quality beans worldwide. Venezuela is one of the countries that sells the criollo beans, which is one of the best quality and more flavorful. For cacao beans, it's all about the land. In that, Venezuelans are lucky.

How did you become a chocolate maker?

It was actually by accident. I always liked chocolate and I wanted to do something better, something gourmet, something that I would be proud of making. I studied at the Ecole Professional School of Chocolate Arts, Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy, and did some private training with different pastry chefs/chocolatiers.

What are some of your more popular items?

We try to make non-traditional flavors. Our new best sellers are our almond crunchy bonbon -- almond-chocolate cream with a crunchy surprise, and also our Thai truffle --toasted coconut, curry, ginger, and freshly made peanut butter. Our orangettes and gingerettes are very popular as well, and we can't forget to mention our passion fruit, chai tea, and handmade double dark chocolate truffle.

Have you participated in the Fairchild Chocolate Festival before?

We were there last year. We were one of the most popular participants. After the chocolate festival, we've a great response, and that's why I'm coming back.

What do you plan to show at the festival?

We have a different set up designed for this year. We are coming with new products and new flavors. This year, we're going to blow people's minds.

What makes Cao Chocolates different from the rest?

Our priority is customer engagement, and we work hard every day to offer a product above the line using as many local ingredients as we can to support local farmers and growers and benefiting our local communities. Our goal with our business is to pass our knowledge to our customers so they can learn to appreciate, respect, and understand chocolate in a different way. We also support our local charities with donations made by us and all our amazing friends who support us every month at the "Sweet Nights Under the Stars" events.

For more information on Fairchild's 8th Annual International Chocolate Festival, visit the garden's website.

Follow Short Order on Facebook, on Twitter @Short_Order, and Instagram @ShortOrder.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.