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Chocolates of Ecuador -- Arriba, Nacional, CCN51

There is debate about the Arriba bean and whether indeed there is any such thing any longer. Some say that Arriba is one bean in a category they would like to call Nacional, and others say it synonymous with that term. Many chocolate makers using cacao from Ecuador slap this fashionable Arriba label on their packages since this carries with it the status of the fine and flavor beans.

And so opening up a general discussion on Arriba, Nacional and Ecuador chocolate, and a place to gather links and references for further reading.

And also specifically attempting to get to the bottom of which companies are using CCN51, and which are using "Arriba" or Nacional beans that are distinguished from that clone. What I have been told so far is that of the companies producing the chocolate in Ecuador, that Plantations uses "mainly the CCN51 clone," and that Republica del Cacao uses "100% pure Nacional beans." And if that is the case, what precisely can 100% pure Nacional mean nowadays? And the other companies who are making the chocolate at source such as Pacari, Caoni, and Kallari, what is the cacao? And what about couverture Arriba from Felchlin and Callebaut? And what is the source of cacao for companies such as Dagoba, Hachez, and Chocolove, some of which do not make their own chocolate from the bean, but who use the word Arriba?

Tags: arriba, ccn51, ecuador, nacional

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Declaration of Ecuador symbol product
1. Justification

The importance of the cocoa as one of the more relevant agriculture products in the production (2004 almost 111.000 tons), the exportation, jobs positions and income specially for the 100 000 small Ecuadorian producers, is a happy reality. Also the capacity of the country to be a producer of quality and scent cocoa -appreciated in the international markets- has not taken advantage of, on the contrary this image its being lost due to factors related to the quality offer diminished (defective post harvest, mixtures with the CCN51 clone, etc). Another reality is related with the low levels of productivity in the National cocoa plantations, which its decrease its due to the elderly age and the lack of management. These and other problems affect the competitiveness of the chain.

These aspects have been discussed in several planning and analysis workshops of the cocoa value chain, promoted in the last months by groups such as ANECOCOA, UNOCACE, FEDECADE, PRONORTE, UDENOR, INIAP, CORPEI, IICA, FECD, GTZ, and one of the priority demands expressed by the assistants (more than 60), to face that situation a redefinition was made of a strategy and a politic to improve the competitiveness of the cocoa sub sector and the establishment of agreements and mechanisms for achieving its implementation.
Hola a todos me gustaria aportar informacion sobre el cacao que represento, asociacion y como presidente de APROCAFA (asociacion de productores de cacao fino y de aroma) yo tengo mas o menos 22 años cultivando este cacao que todos ustedes llaman como clon CCN51 y que ahora luego de haber hecho muchos trabajos de fermentacion se ha logrado quitarle las astringencia y asidez que tenia este cacao que es fino tambien por ser trinitario por concepto. No he podido leer todos los comentarios pero a algunas personas conosco en este forum y otros han estado en la hacienda (Rancho San Jacinto Naranjal) a la cual cuando alguno de ud vengan al Ecuador me gustaria invitarlos y mostrarles como se trabaja ese grano de cacao.
Haciendo resumenes, si el problema que tenia el Ecuador era la mezcla de granos de cacao que por trabajos en conjunto con Corpei, Aprocafa, Anecacao y MAGAP controlar las mezclas.
Sobre los chocolates el Vintage Plantations ERA hasta que fui parte de esa sociedad una mezcla de cacao Nacional 30% y Don Homero (CNN51) 70% pero la diferencia es que yo manejaba la fermentacion de esos 2 granos y la mezcla se hacia a nivel de licores. Hoy estoy haciendo un nuevo chocolate con el nombre de la hacienda y tambien private label y pongo a disposicion la pag web de la hacienda
Translation in English provided by It's not perfect and there are some words that weren't handled at all (might be the difference between European Spanish and Latin American Spanish).

Hi all I would like to provide information on cocoa represent, association and as chairman of APROCAFA (association of producers of fine and flavor) I have more or less 22 years to grow this cocoa as you all call and now CCN51 clone after having made many works of fermentation has been achieved remove the astringency and asidez who had this fine cocoa which is also being Trinitarian by concept. I could not read all the comments but some people conosco in this forum and others have been at the ranch (Rancho San Jacinto Naranjal) to which if any of you come to Ecuador would like to invite you and show me how to work the cocoa bean .

Making summaries, if the problem you had in Ecuador was the mixture of cocoa beans that work in conjunction with Corpei, Aprocafa, MAGAP ANECACAO and control mixtures.

About the Vintage Plantations Chocolates ERA until that company was part of a mixture of cocoa and 30% National Don Homer (CNN51) 70% but the difference is that I handled the fermentation of these 2 grains and the mixture is to level liquors. Today I am making a new chocolate with the name of the estate and also private label and make available the web pag finances

This is a photo of the front entrance to the Rancho San Jacinto. I visited there in October 2005. Across the street is (or was) a roadside stand where you could get fresh cacao pulp smoothies and warm pan de yucca con queso (cheese bread made from yucca (cassava) flour).
I think the traditional importers of cacao arriba started business many years before CCN51 appeared. They are for a long time used to the characteristic flavor and aromas of arriba, i don´t think they would ever change or be cheated about it. Plus they have an educated consumer who p for that quality.
In the laws of Ecuador, there are prohibitions to mix the CNN51 with arriba or Nacional.

Arriba strictly talking, only grows in a defined geographical area of Ecuador, arriba, means up the river, in the surroundings of the Guayas an Babahoyo rivers, in higher elevations, than other lower land cocoas. Nacional, in the other side is the term that embodies all the forasteros considered to be fine in Ecuador.
Both Nacional an Arriba are forasteros.

In the last century, about a hundred years ago, the plagues almost killed the arriba varietals and many cocoa varietals were introduced to strenght the original arriba cocoa. These other cocoa from Venezuela, Trinidad, etc gave the original arriba the power to survive the plagues, but the main character arriba prevailed through the years. Our actual arriba got some criollo and trinitario features.

For some especialistas the arriba original variety still exists pure just in a 10% of the whole fine cocoa in Ecuador.
Definetibelly I think the cocoa and chocolate conosseurs buy the best national and arriba cocoa, while the CCN51 is internally and externally of lower consideration. It just does not attain any of the real characteristics of fine cocoa.
There is a need to protect the arriba origin, and there is a project in Ecuador led by official, and private organizations to legalize the arriba in the frame of the Ecuador laws under the origin denomination (denominacin de orígen) .
That is for now, there is a lot more to talk about arriba....
María Soledad Troya
This is so interesting. I always thought these beans were really just aversion of Trinitario and were no longer around. The few bars that I've come across out there made me wonder. I thought perhaps some genius crossed the Trinitario and Criollo and tried to make a new hybrid. It just goes to show you that you never know. Mother nature is funny.
Yes, it´is amazing, but something that surprized me the most was the fact that there are some theories that imply that there are many more types of cocoa than we initially thought. This comes out of a serious genetic study .
Check it out in the following link.
The conclusions are:
Should cacao be reclassified from the traditional 3 (Forastero,
Criollo, Trinitario) into the 10 categories suggested in the research
study *Geographic and Genetic Population Differentiation of the
Amazonian Chocolate Tree.

The suggested new categories are:
1.Amelonado – Brazil
2. Contamana - Peru
3.Criollo - Central America, Venezuela
5.Curaray - Ecuador
6. Guiana - Guyane
7.Iquitos - Peru
8.Marañon - Brazil (Amazon) and Peru
9.Nacional - Ecuador
10.Nanay - Peru
11. Purús – Peru

The arriba cacao from Ecuador, is a a type of Nacional
Very interesting. I'm going to go to the link and read more. What a breakthrough. This could mean so much for the world of chocolate! Please keep me informed as you find more information. I would appreciate it.
It would be cool to see Figure 1 of this study on Google Map.
Yea, what a neat and clear panorama of the cacaos . It certainly revolutionizes the traditional view in terms of varieties. The idea of the google map is great. I think we are talking about many maps, if we want more detail, many maps put together.
I wonder what the scientific community thinks about this study. There maybe a study that deals in more detail with the location. I could see making maps of the varieties in such a way that the work as layers.
What many people may not realize is that two of the current names used to describe cacao varieties (criollo, forastero) are examples of how the victors write history.

Criollo means, roughly, native (e.g., comida tipica criolla), and forastero, roughly, foreign. In the context of cacao, criollo means "from here" and forastero means "imported from elsewhere" and are therefore quite meaningless when talking about varieties of cacao as the "native" (as in, original varieties) are the foreign ones - as there is now consensus that criollo varieties were selectively bred from forasteros as the Mesoamericans (the Toltecs and Olmecs) found uses for the seeds where South American Indian tribes focused on uses for the pulp.

Criollo and forastero are just as confusing as the term "arriba" which only means "up" (also, over, above, forward) and refers to where traders had to go ("up" the Guayas river from Guayaquil) to get the fine flavor cacao best known as Nacional.

Over time these generic terms were applied to specific varieties of cacao without paying any attention to their original meanings.

Motamayor's study is perhaps the first serious attempt to try to rationalize the naming scheme. However, I find it interesting that with the exception of "criollo" and "amelonado" all of the suggested new names refer to specific places. Amelonado is a reference to the shape of a pod - melon-shaped - of a specific variety of forastero originating in Brasil. It is likely that criollo varieties in Venezuela were almost certainly re-introduced from Mesoamerica.

Ultimately, I don't see that there will be much uptake of these terms outside of the academic/scientific community - and perhaps hard-core enthusiast community - any time soon. Too much marketing and advertising has been done around the existing terms to make the transition easy. Plus, with an increasing emphasis on origins it's going to be hard to differentiate (meaningfully) between, for example, Nacional and Curaray; both are from Ecuador and Curaray is an obscure river south of the Napa in the Oriente.

I think more people would understand and appreciate the distinction between "heirloom" (e.g., Nacional) and "hybrid" (e.g., CCN 51) cacao varieties.


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