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2019 - Cacao of Excellence

The only Ecuadorian cacao to earn this award!

Unbeaten Worldwide




I love the 90+0 Costa Esmeralda bar, really such a soft and mild flavour for a 90% - CC @ Chocolateseekers


The acidity is lovely, lively and longlasting - TFW @ ICA


Terrifically good. It’s high cocoa, but so tasty. - Annalisa Barbieri @ Observer


Slightly sweeter than the 100% bar, this accessible 90+0 presents acidity and nuttiness.  The % is a combination of the cacao bean and the added cacao butter.  This is 90+0 because we add zero butter.  If one added 20% cacao butter, you'd have a bar of 70+20.  What 90% tells you with certainty, 10% sugar.  That much is sure!


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 90% 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 nutty resins the cacao presents deep and rich chocolatey notes and the melt evolves over the course of several minutes with lingering gentle acidity.  Delicious, thanks Freddy!

90% Costa Esmeraldas, Ecuador - Dark

  • Organic Nacional Venezolano Amarillo cacao, unrefined cane sugar

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