Chocolate - or chocolate beans to be precise - are one of the few materials around the world of Koria which has sparked one or another smaller war. The Chocolate Plantations are set in the west of Pisocenia at the foot of the Long Neck mountain range where the chocolate trees can grow with a little help from the deep wells surrounding the plantations.
The climate near the mountains is next to ideal for the chocolate trees. They grow slow, but steady. The main harvest takes place during the first three months of summer, the second harvest roughly one month before autumn.
Workers cut the chocolate pods from the trees, break them, peel the beans out of the pod and store them in tight boxes so they can safely ferment. After the fermentation process is done, only the pure beans remain inside the box. The fermentations process varies from one to three weeks to achive different strenghts of bitterness and different flavours.
After dried and fermented to the right flavour and bitterness the beans are getting ready to be shipped. That could be in boxes or in small to huge bags.
Rich customers or long-term-customers can order a specific amount and a specific flavour like spiced beans, cloves or vanilla. It is all included in the fermentation process and gets refined when the chocolate beans are grinded and melted down.
The distribution of the raw chocolate bean is managed by the Desertwalkers and only by them. There are three warehouses in Piscocenia, one right at the plantations where most of the packing, sorting and fermentation takes place and the other one in the northern knee of the Long Neck mountain range. The last one is built in the city of Mearis where the Desertwalkers have three ships at hand to distribute larger quantities of chocolate beans with a fourth ship in production. All of them are under the flag of the port of Mearis, but contracted exclusively for the merchant guild.
On land the Desertwalkers have only their gold. But they contract mercenaries and guards from all over the continent to protect the plantations and the carriages. Every caravan is well armed and defended, a small army for every transport including archers and mobile troops. No ordinary bandit would risk a second look into the direction of the caravan.
Since Pisocenia is a rather warm land and only a few regions are more or less tropic, mostly in the west around at the southern Long Neck mountain range, there is the problem of getting enough water for the entire plantations.
The solution: two really deep wells and one aqueduct coming from the mountains, built with a little help of some friendly - and expensive - dwarves. They bring the deep-river water of theirs with chains and containers up to the surface and let it run through the aqueduct with a steering mechanism positioned at the bottom of the mountain.
Waves of Serotonin & Gold
While the Desertwalkers only have gold and therefore troops, they have allegiances to a various amount of dealers and manufacturers. In every larger city - and sometimes in small villages - they have at least two dealers and two to four manufacturers. They grind & melt the beans and craft chocolate bars, cakes, pastries and candy. One or two of the manufacturers specialise in the grind-and-melt process. And at least one manufacturer in Hulwar in the capital Manvongr only crafts things out of chocolate beans for the palace.
In terms of payment chocolate is one of the more luxurious items. It is rather expensive and only on a few occasions people without a fair amount of wealth can get a hand on a bean or a bar. The Desertwalker are getting a fair share of every purchased chocolate, be it a bar, a cake, candies or pralinés. Which provides a good amount of gold for the Desertwalkers each month so they can secure their position.
There was only one time in history where their position as the benefectors of the monopoly was endangered, forever known as the Chocolate War. But this is a story for another time...