This cacao is grown in the province of Esmeraldas, an area not typically known as a cacao producing region of Ecuador. Costa Esmeraldas is a family business, entirely owned and managed by the Salazar family. This single estate farm was established on reclaimed cattle pasture and is currently planted with approximately 100 hectares of 5-year old Nacional hybrid cacao (clones EET-95, EET-96, and EET-103). The farm is currently expanding, and will include 10 hectares of a traditional Esmeraldas cacao varietal that was cultivated in isolation for over 100 years from the typical Nacional cacao grown in the rest of the country. The original farms planted with this cacao are currently being cut down and replaced with oil palm and CCN-51. The farm is located less than 10 miles inland of the coastal town of Muisne. A brand new, high efficiency fermentation and drying facility was designed by Cacao Services and constructed in a dry microclimate about 15 miles from the farm near the town of Tonchigue. The facility design allows production of unusually consistent and clean cacao with an efficient movement of material that reduces worker injury and fatigue.
The color is strikingly dark for a 70% dark chocolate, but belies its mild flavor. Enjoy. Tasting notes: nutty and floral
LetterPress Chocolate was cofounded by David and Corey Menkes in Los Angeles, CA. They founded LetterPress with the purpose of paying cocoa farmers a a premium for quality, sourcing their cacao through direct trade, and working with partners such as Uncommon Cacao, Meridian Cacao. Quality above quantity with as few ingredients as possible to make the best chocolate possible is their mission. On the inside flap of every bar is their favorite quote from Benjamin Franklin: “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
Esmeraldas is the northernmost province of Ecuador, bordering both the Pacific Ocean and western Colombia. The province is notable for its strong Afro-Ecuadorian culture & seafood-based cuisine, as well as the beautiful beaches. Much of Esmeraldas’ population relies upon agriculture to make a living, with the most important crops being banana, tobacco, coffee, and cacao.
Located in the coastal Ecuadorian province of Esmeraldas, this family-run estate has experienced a complete turnaround in recent years. After nearly a decade of their farm just scraping by through selling produce into the commodity market, in 2015 the Salazar family took on the project of completely revamping the 100-hectare farm. This included adding a complete post-harvest processing facility on-site, which is now managed by Freddy Salazar, the youngest sibling in the family. Management of the cacao orchards create over 40 full-time jobs within the local community in rural Esmeraldas, while the fine flavor neo-nacional beans they grow are now used by over a dozen chocolate companies around the world. Makers favor it for its strong base notes of cocoa, roasted nuts, and light fruitiness, with almost no astringency or bitterness.
Nacional is one of those ten evolutionarily unique types identified in 2008, using samples collected throughout the Americas over the previous century. Samples proven to be of the nacional cluster were taken from Ecuador and northern Peru, where it’s considered one of the traditional cacao cultivars; it was domesticated by indigenous Ecuadorians over 5000 years ago, reaching far beyond its small native growing region. Many years ago, however, the cultivar neared extinction as more productive clones replaced the region’s native trees. Nacional is known to be fruity & floral, with some astringency and almost no bitterness.
I have enjoyed the Mission Chocolate,white chocolate with cinnamon and rice very much! The Momotombo white chocolate is excellent also! It is very nice to find white chocolates with clean ingredients!!! Thank you!