2019 - Cacao of Excellence
The only Ecuadorian cacao to earn this award.
After years of assessing cacao from Ecuador, we continued searching, found and approached Mr. Freddy Salazar for a sample. We were blown away with our initial tests and ordered a bulk shipment from Freddy’s cloud forests of Costa Esmeraldas – on the NW coast of Ecuador, 130 miles west of Quito.
Shortly after our shipment arrived in 2019 this cacao was recognized as World Top 50 by the Cacao of Excellence program. We are proud to be the first team in Europe to be working with his cacao.
Freddy’s estate is just 6 years old – situated on an ex-cattle ranch. Very steep, lush, layered slopes complicate the daily work but the year round climate stays quite stable with a short wet season and misty, drizzly summers in the aptly named Cloud Forests. Minimal temperature fluctuation means consistency is more achievable. Management of the cacao orchards creates over 40 full-time jobs in the local community of rural Esmeraldas.
This 100% bar contains no added fat - it's just pure cacao, sorted, roasted, shelled, winnowed and stoneground. We've blended this ultra high% Esmeraldas with a small percentage of flavour cacao from a Peruvian co-op, just to take the edge off, while keeping the core of Esmeraldas intact. The result is an intense bar with a very long luscious melt and no distractions. Behind the intially powerful character of oak barrel and resinous tannins the cacao presents deep and rich nutty notes and the melt evolves over the course of several minutes. Delicious, thanks Freddy!
Here is a review of our bar from internationally certified chocolate and cacao taster, Earnie Glazener on insta: @eglazener
The beans here are the exceptional, hybrid cacao beans (with Nacional ancestry) grown by Freddy Salazar's estate @costaesmeraldas in Ecuador.
The melt here is the typical slower 100% melt, and the resulting texture is smooth and the mouthfeel thick. A roasted nutty base establishes itself quickly, and intense, profoundly dark dried fruit notes (plums and nectarines) pop though with little bursts of soft acidity that have an almost grilled lemon tone. Bitterness is relatively low and very pleasant.
The finish is roasted nuts with profoundly dark fruit and burnt caramel. The aftertaste allows the bar's mild acidity and pleasant tannins to reveal themselves. The pleasant bitterness increases slightly in the aftertaste. The final aftertaste alludes to a great, unsweetened, profoundly dark brownie batter.
This is a lovely, intense 100% interpretation of the Costa Esmeraldas cacao.
100% Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador - Dark
Organic Nacional Venezolano Amarillo cacao.