Pacari Chocolate Visit

Welcome to the magic universe of cacao.

Our aim is throw light on the glad tidings of chocolate, its depths and yields that contain a

unique combination of well-being, enjoyment and intelligence.

 

Chocolate has made a comeback

Chocolate is hot, Chocolate is cool

Chocolate is no longer the comfort food of sin, but gourmet gold

 

Every loves Chocolate, and even though sometimes a cliché like overexposure of the cacao

wave is felt, quality has no time factor, and chocolate will never be out of fashion.

 

There is too much wisdom and vitality inherent in the inexplicable universe of cacao for it to

be yet another passing trend.

 

The interest in organic cacao is a reflection of awareness and consciousness of nature's

treasures, respect for the earth's original sources of wealth. Organic chocolate is innovation

and renewal, perspective and immersion and looks like the source of all that at is good is

inexhaustible.

I once heard a chocolate producer say: "Man cannot live on chocolate alone - a woman can

 

All Nutritionists may strongly disagree, but there are still days where I wish that the

chocolate producers were right. Chocolate is a wonderful food, and I am more than happy to

admit that I am burdened by a heavy vice for good chocolate: I can simply not say no when

offered a piece.

In Denmark we have experienced a development of new quality products and specialties

within chocolates.

 

Never before have the supermarket shelves been offering such a wide range of quality

chocolates, in many shapes and sizes. Some organic, some made from very special beans, or

based on special environmental conditions.

 

We chocoholics have become very quality conscious when buying chocolate.

It's about pleasure, well-being and quality.

It all began when a beautiful woman caught my eye how else could begin?

 

On a large, light green surface on on even larger wall at a huge trade fair for sweets and

chocolates was a small opening like the one in on ice cream stand, and there was a petite,

dark haired girl with long hair sitting. It said Ecuadorian Organics on the wall, and among the

samples were cacao nibs, single origin ones from Esmaralda, Manabi and Los Rios, alongside

chocolate covered fruit and espresso beans from Galapogos.

I went down on one knee immediately and popped the question...

Unfortunatley, Carla answered: "1 just got married 10 days ago, and actually think I

married well". When I later met her husband Santiago, I had to agree.

 

So what is raw chocolate...? In raw chocolate the cacao beans are dried at a maximum

temperature of 50° C rather than roasted.

In this way, not only all the important nutrients but also a large

number of aromas and taste nuances are kept. Raw chocolate has been named one of the super

foods and is regarded as one of the hottest things in nutrition at the moment. Taste wise it can

best be described by comparing it to coffee; dark roast espresso coffee is dominated by

bitterness, whereas light or medium roast coffee is much more aromatic, though not as

distinct as the dark roast.

 

It is the same with cacao beans; in raw chocolate many of the nuances are kept and this means

that even 100% pure chocolate is a pleasure to eat.

A chrismatic mamma who owns three cacao plantations herself, flirts with us and the black

growers. More cacao fruits are opened so we can taste the different varieties of the pure,

tender fruit.they are green and yellow. Greedily we eat from the fruits as if they were the

last fruits ever.

they have become our common focus. the taste is unique.

 

The growers never eat processed chocolate that many people on our side of the planet

associate with the real thing and in turn, many of us have no association to or knowledge of

the taste of the raw cacao bean.

 

A contrast filled universe where Madame and Madame with their manicured hands hold tea

parties in beautiful homes to the sound of delicate porcelain cups, or nibble in a restrained

manner at carefully selected and displayed, choice chocolates at a trendy café in town.

And in contast, these rough growers eating the beans raw. Perfect.

 

 

The purple beans are surrounded by a white, sweet tasting pulp, and the colour structure of

the beans is a fascination in itself. The surface underneath the pulp has an almost shining

quality to it,  like the shine of a newly polished piece of jewellery riddled with crackles like

overheated clay.

 

The colour range covers a wide range of fine, delicate tones of violet and purple. From deep

violet to light violet and purple.

The living colour combinations in the bean are incredibly unique and bear witness to the

complexity naked eye cannot pick up.

 

the taste varies a lot. Some beans are very fruity, almost the taste of dried fruit. Others are 

hard and have an acid, bitter taste with a bad aftertaste like that of rancid almonds. Others

yet again have a light, crunchy and nutty taste, delightful and delicious.

 

Afterwards we are invited in, at one of the few houses built of stone in the settlement, for a

wonderful home cooked meal prepared by young, lovely, shapely black women with a twinkle

in their eye. Chicken soup that has been simmering for a long time, organic bananas, salad,

rice and fried plantain bananas. It is worryingly addictive to be here and breathing in such a

climate.

 

Santigago Peralta and Carla Barboto are the founders of Pacari, a company that produces

organic chocolate in Ecuador.

 

In addition to the organic chocolate production they are also constantly initiating new

projects, all with the aim of improving the conditions of the growers and the primary

producers, furthering organic growth, preserving the rainforest and of course maintaining

the quality of the finished chocolates. Pacari is more than chocolate, and the enthusiasm of

the founders reaches much further than to self-interest. The chocolate is the product of a

well-functioning cooperation between Pacari and 800 organic growers in the local regions. A

cultural heritage must be kept and the forest saved.

 

their overshadowing ideology is to respect the rhythm of nature and the universal order.

Pacari and the people and companies they cooperate with are working to create a varied

chocolate experience, to protect nature by shade growing the cacao trees and by using gentle

harvesting methods.The balance between production volume and fine craftsmanship is the key

to the high quality end product.

 

Seasons and diverging years are a natural part of the ever-changing nature, and also what

makes it unique. The chocolates are different from region to region. They are a product of the

soil and climate in which they grow; single origin chocolates in sync with the intelligent

rhythm of nature. the very best of the heart of the bean must fulfil its potential in the final

cast chocolate bar, and it must be a direct reflection of the qualities of the harvested bean. No

more, no less.

 

The level of ambition at Pacari is sky-high, and the entire enterprise is based on solidary

and social values as well as on a connection to he place and the culture. The intension s to

refine the taste of good cacao and at the same time expand the production. The biggest

challenge s to create the best of the best n the right quantities.

 

The cacao beans, subject to constant checks, are "Ecuadorian Arriba Nacional beans. The

vision has been constantly revised and the ambitions constantly expanded. It has become an

idealistic, avant-garde project with real depth.

 

Initially the intension was to create the first original organic chocolates of the highest quality

within the borders of Ecuador. Later these were made from raw chocolate, and now both

roasted and raw chocolates of the highest quality are produced. The best damn chocolates on the

continent to be more precise.

 

The entrepreneurs take pride n the fact that the whole process from bean to bar is carried

out in Ecuador; they look upon this as a gain not only for them, but also or the country.

 

Already seven year ago, organic raw cacao nibs were exported under the trading name SKS

farms. It was not until later that they felt confident enough to market their own brand.

 

The project has since grown in size and reach, far beyond their dreams.

Passion goes hand in hand with science.

 

OASIS OF THE RAIN FOREST

 

In addition to the production, one of the part projects is establishing agricultural schools

whose purpose is to make the next generation aware of the advantages of organic farming. We

visited two schools both beautifully situated in the rainforest, in the middle of nowhere. One

of the schools is for 12 to 15 year-olds who live in harmony with nature for 2-week spells

at a earning about organic farming, farming the land and being self-sufficient.

Computer skills are also taught as they are important for the new generation so that they can

get in contact with the surrounding world.

 

A mental shift in deeply rooted patterns of thought is needed in order to increase the next

generations understanding of the overall connections and in this way enhance their

appreciation of the precious rainforest. the students learn about technology, industry and

practical improvements and doings; knowledge they pass on to their parents.

 

At another beautiful school the students of all ages had just completed their course and were

getting their diplomas.

They were beaming with pride.

 

For awhile these voluntary students often have to neglect the home, the family and any

children a bit in order to participate in the course about and in the raw jungle. It takes a lot

of self-discipline and commitment to a cause that can not manage on its own.

 

Everything is done in harmony with nature, to encourage it and cooperate with it rather than

manipulate and destroy it.

 

In the jungle you find prolific and healthy trees alongside so-called lazy trees that grow big

without producing much. One of the projects is using grafting to transform the old lazy trees

into super trees. First step is cutting the old tree almost down to the ground. The process

leaves large question marks among the growers who are ultimately responsible for the

decision.

 

When you cut down a tree, you lose at least one harvest, an unsafe investment; but in the long

run you secure a stronger source of income.

 

A tree is capable of bearing fruit three years after it has been grafted.

 

Grafting is done by cutting a twig, the size of a pen, off a so-called super tree and grafting it

on to an old tree with strong solid well-established roots.

the twig must be grafted on fairly low where the vitality of the tree is strongest. The tree

must at the time be maintained constantly, kept at a height of maximum four metres, so as to

centre the energy in the middle of the trunk and so that the tree is kept at a manageable

height for the grower. The branches are pruned in a specific order to let the sunlight in to

the middle of the tree and to avoids the fruits being shaded by leaves or branches. This way

you can also prevent insects or fungi from attacking the trees.

It is important that the trees not only grow, but also deliver.

 

 

As a soucre of income is momentarily lost to the grafting process, the presence of other fruit

trees such as banana, papaya, mango, coconut and chilli is therefore essential, trees whose

crops are fairly prolific until the new super trees are ready to produce satisfactorily sized

crops.

In the future, the way to protect nature in general and the jungle in particular is actually to

use shade growing. The cacao tree is not very demanding in this respect as it can be planted in

the shade without having to cut down trees, and it will grow in a gentle harmony with

surrounding trees in a self-increasing interplay.

 

Natural organic principles take care of this, and by using shade growing we move closer

towards a biodynamic set of values.

 

In order to further organic growth and improve the conditions of the growers, optimism and

social responsibility must really be encouraged. Cooperation among the growers is a

challenge in itself as it goes against their inherent Latin culture. Additional efforts must be

made to encourage solidarity, unity and a sense of belonging, and these foreign words have to

become a natural part of the growers' sense of self. In Practical life the growers work as day

labourers for each other so that they can cooperate, inspire and learn from each other, each

grower having his personal strengths, weaknesses and knowledge.

 

These ideas are not yet manifest but still in embryo. But they are growing and taking seed in

what seems to be fertile ground.

 

For financial reasons the plantation owners are sometimes forced to sell their plantations to

investors interested in a quick profit and not in looking after the rainforest.

the rainforest tree is of the highest quality and therefore the best in the market, so the

buyers are people who are simply looking for a high price for a cut tree of the highest

quality. In the middle of the jungle idyll we saw trucks laden with cut trees on their way to be

sold. It was like watching part of one self being chopped down and driven off.

 

 

The growers who are forced to sell are not proud of this need either, and often they move

away after Having sold the land as they do not have the heart to face the consequence of their

action or watch a development of the former lush areas.

 

 

SOMETHING IS BREWING

the cacao trees in the jungle have their own eco cycle. When pulp and beans have been

removed from the cacao fruit the outer shells are left on the ground next to the productive

trees. The moisture in the shells attracts miniature fruit fly-like insects that in turn

pollinate the flowers thus creating the foundation for

the next generation of fruit, and chocolate for us.

 

Here is small, closed, efficient, self creating cycle which renews itself in harmonious

progress and enhances the general ecosystem.

From flower to fruit to bean to disappearance men it starts all over again.

 

Something is brewing that gets under our skin.

this is scrupulously honest account of a small niche that is growing ever stronger.

 

A significant part of Pacari's general ideology is cultivating long lasting relationships with 

like-minded people with the same universal values.

Also from other places on the planet. Pacari is interested in deep social contacts and

commitment to partners.

 

SENSE EXPLOSIVE RAW POWER

 

 

The starting point for the production of raw chocolate was primarily a desire to safeguard

and keep the precious properties and nutritional advantages of the cacao bean. Through

experimenting, taste advantages were discovered in the raw version. A taste of finesse and

purity with super powers.

In the raw finished chocolate you sense a very subtle and fragile flavour with rich, refined

and complex nuances, and the pure taste must not be drowned out by other elements, it can be

enjoyed on it's own, as it is. That is, you are allowed to share it with other people, if you

want.

 

 

FROM GROUND TO GOLD

 

 

The  yellow cacao fruits of the "Arriba National" type are quite resistant and are harvested

with care by the growers.

Enter the beautiful Viviana.

Viviana is a sharp, passionate, clever, professional controller, visible at the harvest of the

cacao fruit as well as at the final chocolate tasting of the finished product. She is a

perfectionistic chocolate enthusiast who is passionate about her profession and who is well

respected also among the men where it might be hard for a young, beautiful woman to be

respected for her abilities and not just for her gender.

During harvest, Viviana has a selective eye for the physical characteristics such as size,

appearance and colour, in addition to her good nose for smell.

 

The smell reveals more or less everything and is probably the most important factor in the

catagorization of the fruit. If the smell is deep, harmonious, well-balanced with good notes of

fruit and flower, you are off to a good start towards a perfect end result.

The pulp around the beans may be very sweet, but from this does not necessarily follow that

the beans are too. Many factors make up the picture, the pulp may easily be bitter and the

beans sweet,  and vice versa. Viviana helps teach the growers about modern, organic

methods, and she helps evaluate and classify the cacao trees.

that the fruit is fresh and healthy and sufficiently ripe is naturally most important.

Overripe fruit and fruit that are not ripe enough make for bad chocolate that is not sensual.

 

Viviana looks for the optimal signs of beauty such as the fragrance of jasmine, a perfectly

ripe fruit,a touch of acidity in the pulp, light notes of fruit and a medium bitterness in the

beans.

 

The Cacao fruits are meticulously classified and only the best are chosen. After they have

been harvested the beans are taken out, ready for fermentation.

The care with which the beans are treated at this stage and during these early stages is

crucial for the quality of the finished chocolate.

 

During the fermentation and drying processes, each batch of cacao beans must be treated with

meticulousness and care. The workers must be flexible and knowledgeable when it comes to

the changeable conditions of the beans, the day, the light, the time of year, the climate, the

wind, the temperature etc.

 

The fermentation process gives the chocolate its unique taste and you cannot do without it. The

sugar in the white, fruit like pulp around the beans is turned into alcohol. The liquid

evaporates and some of it penetrates the core of the bean, while the full potential aroma

richness is released.Several factors are of importance, and it is the interplay between pulp

and bean, a love symbiosis, which creates the distinct cacao smell and taste. This is a

completely natural biological process, at the same time it is a very fragile process which

calls for full attention on the living and ever-changing micro organisms. The level of light,

heat, humidity and fermentation as well as the progress of fermentation must constantly be

checked. Sloppiness during this delicate process is potentially disastrous.

 

Square wooden boxes are used to achieve optimal and effective fermentation, they are well-used 

boxes with healthy living bacteria; with new boxes it is harder to achieve the same level of fermentation.

The wooden boxes are placed in sets of three large or three small ones

where, on day one the cacao beans are placed in the first box to be poured into the second box

on day two, with the bottom beans now at the top a homogeneous fermentation can be achieved.

On day three the beans are moved into the last box, same procedure as on the previous day.

The fermentation goes on for a further 3 to 6 days, depending on the previously mentioned

light and climate conditions.

Banana leaves are added in order to protect and keep the important enzymes of the cacao

beans.

 

Small holes are found at the bottom of the wooden boxes, these help expel humidity.

Humidity is the most destructive factor in the production of high quality chocolate, and must

be avoided at all cost.

If just one bean is mouldy, then the whole batch must be thrown out.

the fermentation process only takes 3 to 4 days if the temperature is high, and 5 to 6 days if it is lower.DRYING

 

Already outside the building where the drying takes place the distinctive divine smell of

freshly made chocolate is felt, seeping out from between the cracks in the wooden walls. The

soothing intense fragrance fills the room due to the vaporization from the cacao beans, and

we have only reached the drying phase.

 

If the beans are dried on fairly large wooden boards, bamboo if you have it with a plastic

covering above to shade the beans from the strong, ultraviolet rays of the sun. When the

beans are lying there spread evenly and thinly it is easy to see that no two beans are alike.

They are all unique in shape, character and colour. The rich, deep aromatic nuances are

created through a well-balanced drying process that is neither fast nor too slow.

 

If the beans are exposed to extreme, harsh, concentrated heat, a natural defence mechanism

process starts to tighten the outer web around the bean, closing its outer shell too soon. This

creates bitter substances that enter the core of the bean instead of just staying in the outer

shell. The bean becomes acidy and hard.

 

 

Once again, allowances are made for changing light, humidity and temperature conditions.

The routines are changed summer and winter depending on the sun's position, strength and

shade. The beans must be in constant contact with oxygen during the drying process.

Therefore the beans are turned over regularly ensuring a constant shift in position and sun

exposure to all sides.

These are people hired to guard the beans and turn them over at regular intervals, the

frequency of which, once again, depends on the time of day and year.

 

Drying takes approximately five days.

 

After which the core of the bean has changed colour. From being exclusively dominated by

violet tones the colour scale extends to ranging from dark red,  copper like and golden

nuances to an almost black colour. Light brown, dark brown and clay coloured combinations

are seen, and even a colourless quality occur at times.

 

Money does not just grow on trees, it is also lying about in the road. As we speed through the

landscape high on all the impressions, we catch sight of a batch of cacao beans laid out to dry

on the asphalt in a cocktail of exhaust gasses, mountains, houses and trust consensus. Did you

ever...; chilli fruit and corn have been seen like this, dried fish and coconuts on the rooftops.

But black gold on the road...

 

As a result of our increased expertise we are naturally curious to taste these noble beans. We

leave a few Indian dollars in exchange and sample the goods. One currency is as good as

another. And we have to admit that these beans are much more flat and very bitter. They do

not at all have the refined, delicate depths that so elegantly characterize the raw fermented

cacao beans.

 

We agree that these beans will mostly likely end up in the sugary chocolate bars used for

keeping children quiet. To each its own.

 

MAKING IT

 

Just where the mountain bends we reach a beautifully situated factory at the foot of the

mighty Andes. Here we are welcomed by a stronger, enticing smell of real chocolate being

produced, it wafts into our nostrils making us exited and unfocused.

 

We have to be sterile in order to even gain access to the building where the precious

processes are carried out. Washed and scrubbed, we take off any jewellery, plastic or other

loose hanging objects. White sterile clothes and hats that cover scalp, skin, hair and ears,

are donned and the ensemble is completed with blue footies to completely keep out any

potentially unwelcome visitors. recognizable, like mummies we enter the universe of

delights, a smell fit for gods.

 

The whole room oozes with chocolate creation;  a rich, saturated, full-bodied and completely

different natural swell takes over all of our senses.

 

We are defenceless when it comes to this invasive smell, we can almost taste that the

chocolate has not been heated. The essence of the aroma of the bean. The factory is its own

small oasis of smell. Here the cacao beans are handled with care and selected by hand. The

outer layer of she removed from the beans and the full potential of the cacao is set free. All of

this takes place at low temperatures, including melting and conching. Here they make cacao

nibs and pasta, covering chocolate and anything else you could ever dream of in the world of

raw chocolate.

VITAL WELLBEING

 

 

Ultimate enjoyment is a virtue. And moderation is a balancing act.

Chocolate tasting is a subtlety that comprises all senses and taste buds, and demands the

complete presence and attention of the taster in the unique moment of enjoyment.

 

the complex taste, several levels, heights, waves and nuances which appear in your mouth at

different times.

All senses are involved and equally important.

 

The strategy of chocolate tasting is as follows

 

Use your eyes.

Look at the chocolate, it's structure and colour. Notice the surface, is it shiny or mat.

Crackled or smooth.

If the chocolate is dominated by white contours, it has been kept at a wrong temperature.

Chocolates must look fresh and inviting also after a while meaning that it has been stored

correctly.

 

 

Listen, when you break a piece off a bar of chocolate. The sound must be hard and crisp. Not

dull.

Now it is ready for use in a recipe. Or to be eaten. Raw chocolate has the same crisp sound as

processed chocolate.

A small revolution in itself.

 

Touch the chocolate.

How does it feel in your hands. e it, is it sticky and grainy or hard and smooth. Once again the

right temperature is important.

 

Smell the piece you just broke off, or smell the chocolates. Notice which aromas are

released. Which associations do you get. Is it a nutty smell, are there nuances of fruit.

Mocha, coffee, flowers or simply cacao. Can you sense the level of roasting. Close your eyes

to intensify your sense of smell.

 

Now you are ready to taste,

Put a piece into your mouth. Chew on it briefly and let the flavour spread in your mouth.

Notice all nuances, they tend to come in waves, notes of fruit, intensity, acidity. Is it a bitter

and sharp taste, or is it sweet and full-bodied. Complex and sophisticated, or light and fine.

 

Some chocolates start off being anonymous but have an explosive aftertaste. Is the aftertaste

pleasant and lingering? Does it really step up or is it tame? Can you taste the jungle and the

rainforest, flowers and fruit? Nut and coffee? Strong or light roasted beans? What is the sum

of the overall impression?

 

 

VOLCANO MAGICO

 

In certain climate areas where the cacao fruit now the soil is affected by a special element,

nameIy the volcanic ashes unique to these geographical areas. The ashes have for thousands of

years been enriching the soil on many levels, giving its crops an extra dimension of richness

of flavour, nuance, depth, nutrients and Universal energy.

 

We are dealing with strong forces here adding exactly that extra vital glow to the crop

forming a synthesis of a multi-dimensional character.

 

It is impossible to copy volcanic soil, so vulgar, primitive imitations are left in the dirt

here.

 

THE NECTAR OF GODS

 

For all chocolate lovers it is a liberating revelation that research has concluded that cacao is

a healthy, vital food source, and that the cacao bean, the source of all good chocolate, has a

unique, complex composition and a magic formula.

 

Cacao need no longer be debased to a stimulant, nutritionless stimulant at that. And for

women especially, it is a small evolution in itself to have it declared that chocolate is not a

fattening food for lazy comfort eaters with no self-discipline.

Chocolate is spiritual food that tastes of the nectar of gods.

 

 

THE NOBLE BEAN

 

 

The noble power of the bean was already known in the early civilzation of South and Middle

America long before europeans ever had the opportunity to get near it. As one of history's

most important Indian cultures the Olmec was probably the first civilization to grow the cacao trees

 some 3000 BC.

 

the location was the Gulf of Mexico around Tabasco. only a few things left behind from their

era, and they are probably best known for their abnormal stone heads, but linguists have had

a look at their language and in a reconstruction the word "kakawa" is found. their humid well-suited

 climate with tropical rainforest makes it even clearer that the

cacao plant had good growing conditions here.

 

The Mayans followed. The period is around 300-900 AD.

They took over the basic cacao knowledge from the Olmec and their conviction was that the

tree belonged to the gods and that the cacao fruits were the God's gift to man. They had their

own specific cacao god, Ek Chuah. In the strange stone palaces and temples of the Mayans,

they  carved pictures of the cacao fruit which for them was a

symbol of fertility. Hieroglyphs written on paper made from bark show the connection

between gods and cacao.

 

The time was one of great artistic endeavours, intellectual and development. Cacao was used

during sacred and mind enhancing ceremonies, sacrificed to the gods of the Mayan Indians.

Specific rituals were necessary in order to get a good harvest, and the planting ceremonies in

the growth period became an important part of the growing.  Both innocent and more

hardened, bloody rituals took place.

They gave the cacao tree the name cacahuaquchtl  and the word chocolate stems from the

word xocoatl (bitter water).

 

The original much spoken of Mayan cacao drink consisting of cacao olia flowers, spices

(chilli and paprika), and possibly corn or another kind of binder, comes from that period.

The foam was a crucial part of the drink exactly as it is in our cappuccinos and exclusive

espresso based coffee drinks today.

 

 

The Aztec settled in the old Mayan territories around the Gulf of Mexico and took over the

certainty of the therapeutical power and magic of cacao, its being a source of vitality and

spiritual wisdom. Tenotitlan, their capital city situated 2500 metres above sea level, is our

Mexico City.

It was too cold and dry to grow cacao in the city, so the beans were brought from the

rainforests down south.

 

According to myths, the snake god Quetzalcoatl brought the cacao tree from heaven to man and

his mission was to teach them the art of growing the blessed tree. Cacao was

associated with the Aztec flower god, symbolizing poetry, art and song, and with his better

half the flower goddess.

Quetzacoatl, however, had to flee his kingdom and promised to return at a different time as a

different being to recapture his kingdom.

 

It was 1519 and the Spaniard Hernando Cortez arrived with his men on the coast of Tabasco

and was by Montezuma II regarded as a reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl whose

return had been prophezised the same year, so the Spaniard received a royal welcome.

Cortez quickly caught on to the financial value of the cacao bean as a food and as a currency,

and among the many gifts he received a cacao plantation.

He saw the potential of the cacao tree and started plantations around the Caribbean Sea,

Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, theAmazon, Jamaica and Haiti. The

plantations in these original regions still retain a status of having the most valued varieties

of the bean. Cortez should furthermore be honoured for having brought the cacao bean to

Europe.

 

In 1502 Christopher Columbus was actually the first European to come into contact with the

cacao bean in Guanaja, but he did not spot the potential and remained ignorant of the

influence, status and financial value that the bean had for the natives.

 

To the Aztec, cacao was holy and was first and foremost used ritually and shamanically. and

 as a currency. It was not until later that the connection between gastronomy and the cacao

 bean became more explicit.

 

Montezuma II, the Aztec chief, was a renowned chocoholic. Writings tell us that he drank 50

cups of chocolate a day from a gold cup that afterwards was thrown into the channel next to

his palace.

It is said that he had to get up his strength before he visited his harem. In the burial chamber

of Montezuma, the Spaniards later found millions of cacao beans.

A nice little nest egg you might say.

 

It was the Swedish botanist Carl von Linnaeus who in 753 named the cacao tree "the food of

the gods". The  concentrated areas on the world map of the cacao bean became blurred and

spread to more classes in society in several geographical areas on the globe. Globalzation

started its sphere.

 

The expansion of industrial production in Europe, experiments with cacao substitutes,

dilution of the real thing, quantity and commerciality led to the 1900s becoming the century

where the exclusive, wise fools' gold was placed in vending machines, suffocated by additives,

sugar, milk powder,  masonry dust, potato flour and lead.

The power and essence, which were its trademarks on the South American continent, were

reduced, and chocolate prejudice century was born where the illustrious image of cacao was

put in a a misleading light.

 

The accessibility of the common man to luxury items corrupted its matter and reputation.

The nutritional wealth that the cacao bean had in its naked simplicity disappeared together

with any kind subtlety and sense of quality, and as a natural result of this prejudices and

scepticism were given room to grow when it came to products called chocolate, which had

nothing to do with the noble bean. The Vekao syndrome. A blessed cultural heritage was

degraded to being an unhealthy and environmentally unfriendly wrapped sweet.

 

In the quality movement of this century, cacao is earning back its lost respect and there is

now actually cacao in chocolate. The golden fruit is once again defined as a vital source of

food, a psycho asset and a nourishing eat with a medicinal character.

The apparent new cacao understanding and occupation are more than just a passing trend.

It reaches beyond health and taste. It is about perspective, awareness and reunification of

man and nature. Reconnecting with purity, simplicity and authenticity.

An organic revolution and a human, universal responsibility.

 

In the complexity of the cacao tree there is something inexplicable which is spoiled when we

take it apart and minimalize it in confined settings.

 

In historical tales and sagas, the cacao tree symbolizes an intelligence which at a high level

is instrumental in the creation of balance and harmony between man and nature in case of

lost or violated ground. The multiplicity of the cacao tree reminds us that nature can still be

saved, due to the trees ability to recreate balance in its surroundings, the capability of

growth and harmony in the rainforest.

 

 

 

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