The Chocolate Life

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Hi all, 

This is a great forum, thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences!  I am starting a raw, organic chocolate bar business here is Ashland, Oregon, and am slowly learning whats what. There are such gems of knowledge in this forum, like yesterday I learned that I can start in a domestic kitchen situation. I then called the State, and it looks like my situation qualifies. I was flooded with relief, thank you.

I am really stuck in locating a wholesale source for raw organic Criollo Arriba paste. If you can guide me towards a source I would be so grateful. I have my EIN, city license, etc. 

Another question is I don't really have any idea of the going price for wholesale chocolate. I see lots of various forms of cacao for sale on line, but those are all re-sellers in bulk as far as I can see, I really have not seen pricing for wholesale. Can anyone share what kind of price I might anticipate? Am I being naive, and I should expect to buy from the farmer if I want wholesale? What is the norm, if such a think exists?

My last question is can anyone point me towards what is the next next level up from hand wrapping the bar and labels. I visualize that it involves a machine, and that sounds huge and expensive, but what is the most simple and cheap kind of machine?

In thanking you,


Tags: raw, wholesale, wrapping

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Replies to This Discussion

I'd urge you to search the forums for raw chocolate discussions, and read up on them.  You're not finding raw liquor for sale as it doesn't exist.

Thank you Sebastian. I am a bit confused now. I bought raw Criollo Arriba Cacao paste from Bright Earth Foods, says so on the package sitting on my shelf. I just went a double checked it. Am I not understanding something here?  I will read more forums.


Yes i know they are saying it's raw - i'd urge you to read the forums as it's been thoroughly covered.   If there are still questions after doing so, we can cover any new ground.

Hey Mack,

i recently did some research on the Chocolate Industry due to my studies. I've found this, lets call it dossier...maybe this will help you finding the right way:D

Mack -

What Sebastian is referring to is the fact that even if the package says it's "raw" the chances are exceedingly high that at some point between the time the pod is harvested and the paste is finished, that the cacao has been subjected to temperatures exceeding (104F, 110F, 118F - pick your max temp as there is not universal agreement) for an extended period of time. One place that's suspect that is usually not checked is the instantaneous shear temperature under the grinding mechanism.

One area Sebastian is alluding to is that "raw" chocolate almost certainly has a much heavier microbial load due to the fact that it's never been subjected to temperatures that can kill micro-organisms that have the potential to make people really sick.

Here is one of the more popular articles on raw cacao on TheChocolateLife. The author, Ben Ripple, of Big Tree Farms, is a supplier of "raw" cacao.

You should not expect to purchase raw cacao from a farmer directly. Prices are high(er) because this is a niche market and that will automatically lead to higher prices.

Simplest kind of wrapping is flow-wrap. A decent machine will cost at least $20k. If you want to wrap with foil - then it will cost a lot more. Even if you buy a good used machine for cheap, making it work in production can cost thousands.

Finally, there is no such thing as Criollo Arriba - at least in the sense that you're using high-quality Criollo beans. Arriba is a name given to the typical flavor of Nacional beans from Ecuador. Nacional is a member of the Upper Amazon Forastero grouping. However, if the seller means "criollo" in the linguistic sense - it's Spanish for local, as in comida tipica y criolla, typical native food - then all that means is Arriba beans that are grown here (presumably Ecuador).

Wow, this is such good information, thank you Clay. You took a lot of time and energy to write educate me, and I not only appreciate this, I also need it. I can see I have a steep learning curve ahead of me, which is fine, I look forwards to learning.

Its midnight, and I just found a few replies in my junk folder, and pulled them out. I will follow up on the links tomorrow.

Once again, thank you!

Hello Mack, If you are interested in paste (cacao liquor) from Dominican Republic I think I could get you one or two leads, just contact me.

Hi Miguel, to be honest I do not know anything about the DR source. What I think I am looking for is a National variety, Criollo, raw. It can be powder or paste. The more I read this blog, and follow links, the more I realize it is complicated!

I would be interested in the leads, thank you!


Hi Mark, what I understand is that the Criollo type of cacao was found at first in America, so it is around 90% of total DR production. If you start to look for DR cacao products you might find two varieties:

- Hispaniola (fermented)

- Sanchez (unfermented)

I have direct contact with a very experienced man called Angel Salvador, he is Manager at BIOCAFCAO and also director in CONACADO. If you need me to get you in touch with him just send me a private message. He could get you anything from beans to butter, liquor or powder.

Miguel -

The DR is an unusual case. Not many people know that most ships returning from the New World to Spain stopped in the DR before crossing the Atlantic. Thus, the DR actually has one of the highest instances of genetic diversity in cacao outside of a gene bank and at the place of origin, which appears to be in the Upper Amazon River basin along the modern-day borders of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Brazil.

This diversity works against the notion that 90% of the DR's production is criollos and from personal inspection on visits I would say that true "pure" criollo production is probably on a par with Venezuela and other origins - not so much. The DR grows about 5% of the world's cocoa - but about 70% of the world's organically certified cocoa. It could not reach those levels of production if 90% of it was criollo.

There are dozens if not hundreds of different varieties of cacao in the DR. For classification for export purposes they are divided into two classes (so we don't confuse them with varieties) - and Miguel is right that they are Hispaniola and Sanchez and for the reasons specified.

CONACADO is one of the, if not the, largest independent co-ops on the island. Other sources include Rizek Cacao (which handles the beans coming from Hacienda Elvesia, one of the better known growers on the island) as well as the Roig family. You may also hear names like La Red.

The DR is a great origin for cacao and by working with the various families, growers, and co-ops you will see the depth and breadth of what is on offer. I heartily recommend visiting and seeing for yourself.

So is Haiti (in terms of being an unusual case!), since Haiti was part of Hispaniola (DR+Haiti). Most of the beans from Haiti is "criollo". Ask the French, they have come here big time!


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