Our Cacao & Sugar
Daniel South who opened our eyes to real cacao runs his tiny 2 hectare farm in the Limon province on the super tropical Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. His extremely beautiful farm is only 4 years old and his trees have produced fruit way faster than normally expected. Most cacao produced and exported in Costa Rica today is of a disease resistant hybrid variety which was developed by the government after 80% of the Costa Rican cacao got wiped out by a fungus in the 70’s. Daniel’s trees however, which were given to him by family and neighbors, are of an old heirloom Forastero variety called Matina. They produce a very intense chocolate with deep earthy flavors and low acidity. His whole farm is 100% sustainably cultivated with the sun, the rainforest and cacao compost as the only fertilizers. No spray of any kind is ever used here. Everything from planting to picking, fermenting and drying is done by hand under the tropical sun by Daniel and a local couple who lives and works on his farm like himself. He sells his beans to a few local chocolatemakers, but outside of Costa Rica we are one of the lucky few to produce chocolate from his beans.
Eskil Villereal Berger is extremely skilled in the art of cacao fermentation. Originally from Denmark he has built his own post harvest facility and cacao nursery on a beautiful cacao farm in the Rio Dulce area of Guatemala. From here he grows his award winning cacao in collaboration with his team of local farmers, some of whom have now joined academic educations due to this collaboration. Eskil’s cacao is a Trinitario variety originating from Honduras and locally named Indio Rojo. When roasted exactly right it produces a super rich and fruity chocolate with clear notes of strawberry and a high acidity. His beans won the prestigious Cocoa Of Excellence in 2017 at the International Cocoa awards together with only 17 other producers Worldwide!
The most important ingredient in our chocolate is of course the cacao itself. Sugar and its quality on the other hand is often overseen and can be produced in very damaging ways to the environment. We are proud to have the Native Green Cane Project in Brazil as our supplier. As the largest sustainable agriculture project in the world they have pioneered organic sugar cane production since the 1980’s. Among many initiatives they have:
- Pioneered green cane harvesting by depositing green straw back onto the fields instead of burning it.
- Replaced synthetic fertilizers and pesticides with recycled waste streams from sugar production and natural pest and disease control.
- Planted over 1 million trees to create 11,000 acres of greenways or "biodiversity islands" on its farms to attract beneficial wildlife.
- Installed cogeneration equipment to power the mill and surrounding communities.
- Implemented many innovative environmental and social programs.