Venezuela is a country close to our hearts. And not only to us, many bean to bar makers have a mythical, holy grail-type view of this ancient cacao origin! The fertile lands of the Venezuelan Andean mountain range are the birthplace of criollo cacao. All our cacao varieties come from the Sur del Lago region, which includes the states of Táchira, Mérida, Trujillo and Zulia. It's a challenge to get good beans from Venezuela out of the country, but because of our partnership with Chococao it's possible! Chococao is used to sell their cacao locally to traders. They had no idea where their beans were going to. But, because of the support of Gaia, they can now export directly. Because of this, a higher value of the beans can be obtained and there is more control over the output. Chococao now knows the buyers of their beans. Sometimes they even send updates on the farm to the chocolate makers. It doesn't get more transparent than this.
We offer several varieties:
Sur de Lago / Superior - A well fermented blend from the Merida, Táchira and Trujillo states. Mild chocolate, malt and wood.
Las Virtudes - Complex earthy, woody and nutty.
Gibraltar - Our favourite! Cookies, bananas and caramel.
Porcelana - The one and only. Soft and mild caramel and nuts.*
Bocadillo - Pronounced flavors of olives and nuts.*
* Some varieties are so limited that we can not always offer them. If not, we will tell you up front.
Ecuador is a well known country for cacao. We love the diversity of this relatively small country in South America. The famous Arriba cacao, or Nacional, grows here. Many chocolate makers go crazy for the fruity, floral profile that typically comes from those beans. Because of the price difference that is paid for different varieties, cacao is often being mixed on the farm level or at the cooperative. This results in lower quality flavours. Although we believe that not one variety is better than the other, because there are different varieties for different markets, it is important to differentiate the varieties to ensure the right post harvesting processes is implemented. Plus, we are a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of company, so we do not compromise on the quality.
We work with a single-estate farm that has 100% Arriba cacao beans. Our partner is Hacienda Victoria, a beautiful cacao farm located in the Guayas region. Because they work exclusively with the Arriba beans, they offer a consistent and customised fermentation. This means that clients have a huge say in how they want the beans to taste like. This cacao is perfect for the buyer who is looking for something really special. Hacienda Victoria's beans are renowned for their large size and fruity profile.
We always keep a stock of this variety in our warehouse in Amsterdam:
Arriba Nacional - Floral and pronounced fresh fruity flavors.