Cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla beans.
The Chocolate Maker’s Notes:
Ecuador’s native cocoa Nacional has been famous for centuries for its fine flavor. When cocoa traders would come to the port of Guayaquil and ask where the best cocoa was to be found, they would be pointed “Arriba” or up river. I was very happy to find a small group of cocoa plantations up river from Guayaquil that preserve pure Nacional cocoa. I used the cocoa from these plantations to make this beautiful and incredibly flavorful chocolate.
Finding absolutely pure Nacional can be a difficult task. Many cocoa farmers have been talked into replacing their Nacional with a hybrid called CCN-51. CCN-51 has no Ecuadorian genetic roots and is a particularly insidious hybrid that rapidly depletes the soil and is rapidly replacing fine flavored cocoa in the few countries that grow quality cocoa. By ensuring this chocolate is CCN-51 free, we are able to present to you the pure flavor of Ecuador’s cocoa and heritage and help preserve fine flavored cocoa.
In addition to the final flavor of this special chocolate, what really makes me proud is that before we released this chocolate to the public or our retailers, I packed up a collection of bars and flew to Guayaquil and traveled up-river to the homes of farmers who grew the cocoa beans we used. There, along with my friends in Ecuador, we threw a party for the farmers with free food and drinks. We shared the chocolate with the very farmers who grew the cocoa. It touches my heart that the farmers were able to taste this chocolate first. It was a beautiful experience seeing the pride that they took in their farms, their trees, their cocoa. The faces of those humble farmers and their beautiful children will always be with me and I can only hope that this chocolate does honor and justice to their hard work and their love for their beautiful cocoa trees.