Learnings from Pastry Connection: Latin American Pastry and Chocolates with Jorge Kauam and Ángel Betancourt
A very latin conference, very sensitive, and Venezuelan; with these three words I will describe the conference imparted by Jorge Kauam and Angel Betancourt. A journey through cacao, chocolate, and the native Venezuelan sweets. An active chat filled with “paisanos” that admire them and are very proud of the successes these big pastry professionals have accomplished.
Angel started talking about a “controversial” topic, or as he called it “positive controversy”, because it was useful to look into our roots. He said that in his research through the people and books that have inspired him the most, he found out that the first cacao plant was born in the Andean Region of Perijá, in the occident side of Venezuela, with the Guasare strain. The famous Porcelana cacao bean came from this strain, which is characterized for being one of the finest cacao beans of the world. He also said that a lot has been said about the origin of the cacao bean being from Mexico (a country he adores), however he invited us to think about it as a topic that we should dig into more; question, dig, and investigate, an advice he applies in everything.
Jorge, beginning with the phrase “chocolate is not an ingredient, it is a recipe”, commented that nowadays in Latin America, thanks to the efforts of many people, the culture of making chocolate has grown inside the cacao communities. For example, he now sees that there are a lot of little towns that produce cacao and make chocolate as an exceptional raw material. He emphasized the fact that it is crucial to educate cacao producers in order to achieve a final chocolate of excellent quality.
Then, they gave us a journey full of creativity through their creations. Jorge said his style is characterized by having a lot of colors and trying to connect this with different emotions. One of his emblematic products is the “cigarro de mi tierra”, inspired by a Venezuelan sweet that is now a symbol in Miami, with which a lot of Latinos are identified. On his part, Angel describes his style as a fusion, he uses cacao to reproduce Latin-American pastry different international influences, his desserts are very colorful too, inspired in part by all his years working connected to the Caribbean.
Angel and Jorge, my dear friends, are a referent not only for me, but also for a lot of young people that are dedicated to gastronomy. The work they do is impeccable, but the best thing they are teaching to these new generations is to be humble and to always have present where they come from. This is what makes us big professionals and people. Arriba Venezuela!
Silvia Guedez, Chef Chocolatier República del Cacao allied
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