From the former Portuguese colony, and now sovereign island nation of São Tomé e Príncipe, to Principe Real in Lisbon, Claudio Corallo and his family export and produce some of the purest chocolate you’re likely to encounter in your life. There are no additives here, and the chocolate ranges from 100% cacao, to their softest variety at 70%, and everything in between.
The Corallo family knows their chocolate. Claudio originally hails from Florence, but honed his agronomical skills in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) growing coffee. Political unrest in the region sent him and his family to São Tomé, where he put his knowledge to the test. And now he is a master of the cocoa plant.
On a recent visit to their shop in Lisbon, I had the good fortune to run into Claudio, visiting from São Tomé. He edified me on some of the finer points of chocolate. “Everything”, he explained, “depends on the bean.” Without out that, the flavor is lost. People often confuse “bitter” chocolate with “strong” chocolate. Strong chocolate is a matter of taste, but bitter is a fault with the bean, and no matter the additives, it can’t be corrected. Spend a few minutes talking to Claudio or Bettina about the art of chocolate, and you’ll quickly see that this is their lifelong passion.
While Claudio and his sons manage their plantations in São Tomé, Bettina and Ricciarda run their shop in Lisbon. Swing by their premises at Rua Cecílio da Sousa 85 in Principe Real for a few pieces of unadulterated chocolate, some great coffee and the most sublime chocolate sorbet that will ever cross your lips.