The Cacao Beans We Currently Use
Honduras, Wampusirpi: These beans come from a remote part of Honduras (two days by canoe) where there simply are no chemicals and they have never been used. Everything we know about the Wampusirpi district leads to the fact that the whole region is committed to organic practices, although the beans are not certified as such. These beans were sourced with care from the farmer and co-ops, premiums well above the market minimum were paid (nearly double in this case) and only the best beans were accepted.
Tanzania, Kokoa Kamili: Kokoa Kamili currently works with approximately 1,500 small shareholder farmers, most of whom farm between 0.5-2 acres of cocoa. Kokoa Kamili pays a premium--well above the market rate--to farmers for their ‘wet’ cocoa, and does its own fermentation and drying. By taking over the fermentation and drying process, Kokoa Kamili can produce more consistently higher quality cocoa beans. This gives farmers a reduced workload, along with greater compensation, and the farmers are paid immediately after the cooperative receives its wet beans. In Kokoa Kamili’s first year alone Kilombero farmers received the highest prices in Tanzania for their cocoa.
Belize, Maya Mountain Cacao: Maya Mountain Cacao (“MMC”) is a pioneer in direct trade cacao sourcing. MMC works with 350+ certified organic smallholder cacao farming families in the Toldeo District, most of them indigenous Q’eqchi’ and Mopan Maya. The farmgate price paid for wet cacao in Belize has grown by over 90% since MMC began operations in 2010, leading to meaningful increases in farmer income.
Columbia, Tumaco: Tumaco is a region where the predominantly Afro-Colombian population has faced a great deal of prejudice and sustainable local development has been hijacked by extensive penetration of paramilitary and narco groups. In recent years, widespread cocaine plantations have been replaced with nearly 14,000 hectares of flourishing cacao parcels. Cacao de Colombia has worked with three community cooperatives to introduce centralized processing and drying. Farmers today earn 70% more income from cacao than they did when selling dried beans to the commodity market supply chain, and have a true sustainable alternative to coca production or involvement in the narco groups.
Guatemala, Polochic: The Association of Organic Producers for Integrated Development of the Polochic (APODIP) comprises 495 smallholder farming families in the lush Polochic Valley of southeastern Alta Verapaz, including 126 women as primary cacao producers in the association. Farmers live in 35 communities across the Polochic Valley, which neighbors a forest reserve called La Reserva de Biosfera Sierra de las Minas, and the association is partially responsible for protecting this.
About Some of the Ingredients
A Date with Chocolate. The Tree of Life: The date palm is known as the Tree of Life (also the Phoenix Palm) and has been cultivated for over 4,000 years although fossil records show it has been in existence for over 50 million years. Dates are an unrefined, whole food sweetener.
Maruya Miso: This uses the miso from the oldest miso company in the world – Maruya. Miso has been made there since the 13th century and is fermented in large vats under piles of river-rocks (the image on the label). Maruya Miso was fed to the samurai warriors before they went into battle. Miso gives a delicious umami and salty flavor to the chocolate.
Tiger Nut Milk: Tiger Nuts are one of our earliest food source, eaten by our early ancestors 1 to 2 million years ago. Ancient Egyptians were cultivating it over 4,000 years ago. It has a high fiber content and is high in magnesium. Currently one of those popular “superfoods”, it has a delicious creamy and nutty flavor.
All our chocolate is vegan and gluten free.