When we choose our cacao, our top priority is knowing that the people from whom we buy it are in direct contact with the farmers and are practicing fair trade. Of next (but not less) importance is the quality and flavor of the cacao which begins with good fermentation practices (link to THE CACAO’s JOURNEY).
Since the beginning of DAR we have been buying our cacao from Meridian Cacao Co. who maintain high standards for their sourcing. These cacao beans are used in our single origin bars.
Cholaca is a Colorado based company from whom we buy cacao liquor (100% cacao beans roasted and roughly ground at the origin, in Ecuador), certified organic and certified fair trade. Cholaca are committed to THE 4 SEEDS OF REGENERATIVE CACAO.
Save the Earth. It's the Only Planet with Cacao
It begins with a tree like this one, growing under the canopy of the jungle, free and natural, with minimum interference to the natural processes.
It’s interesting to note, that the natural pollinator of the cacao tree is not a bee but rather a fly…
The farmers can tell when the white pods containing the black gold of the Aztecs deep within, are ready to be harvested. The beans are protected by a soft juicy substance that is sweet.
They are dried and fermented using age old techniques and rudimentary structures, making use of the natural elements - wind and sun - to dry.
Choosing the Cacao
The best craft chocolate begins with properly identifying well fermented cacao beans.
It was Paul Johnson of Carribeans who taught us the science of fermentation, how to choose the best cacao, as well as the full process of roasting, winnowing, cracking, grinding and finally tempering chocolate.
The Cutting Test
Although fermentation is implemented by the cacao farmers, a bean to bar chocolate maker is better off knowing what a good fermentation practice is and what its outcome looks like.
This is an ongoing chore - every new batch of cacao that arrives at our doorstep must first pass the cutting test, which we continue to refine with the help of our dear friend, America’s first craft chocolate maker Steve DeVries.
For our packaging, we use recyclable and compostable packaging in our classic bars. We are currently in search of ecological packaging for our Truffle Bars. Over 90% of our shipping materials are recycled and recyclable and/or compostable materials.