In the broadest sense, there are two types of cacao: bulk cacao and what is officially called “fine flavour” cacao. About 95% of the global supply of cacao is considered “bulk cacao.” Only 5% is “fine flavour.” Heirloom cacao is the finest of the fine flavour cacao.
Aged chocolate is a new phenomenon that To'ak has been pioneering since 2013. The process is grounded in the science of flavor extraction, and draws heavily from long-standing practices in both the wine and whisky traditions.
Apparently some people in Europe have started snorting cacao powder at dance parties. The writer of this answer has tried that, twice, and decided that he vastly prefers to consume cacao the old-fashioned way–by eating or drinking it. It’s tastier that way, and less messy.
Yes, we consider fermentation to be one of the single most important steps in the chocolate-making process, in terms of flavor profile.
Only 5% of the global cacao supply is designated as “fine flavour” (aka “fine flavor” or “fino y de aroma”), the majority of which comes from only one country: Ecuador. Read on for more details.