Hola and Aloha everyone, from Juchitan, Oaxaca, Mexico!
Thanks a million to everyone who's backed us, we're forever indebted to you, and we're slowly reaching our goal. We wanted to give you this update and encourage to tell all your friends & family about our project so we can be sure to get it funded, and we can truly benefit all the amazing cacao farmers and traditional chocolate makers we've been meeting over the last 2 weeks in Chiapas & Oaxaca! So if you have a moment, please pass this on to everyone you know.
We wanted to give you a taste of what we've found down here so far. On getting to Tapachula at the center of the Xoconusco Cacao growing region of Chiapas, we met with the CASFA cacao coop and were quickly introduced to cacao growers and fermentation centers in 4 towns, Santa Cecilia, Tusantan, Plan de Ayala, and Huehuetan, where the mainly Criolo cacao grew in biodiverse, multicrop orchards, under the shade of towering palm trees and frilly-leafed soil-enriching legume trees like the ear pod and guaje:
or these excellent new barrel fermenters made with a Cuban design:
that really got the heat up inside so nice & high we could hardly keep our hand in there for very long:
But of all the cacao growing areas we saw, Santa Cecilia in the mountains had the most beautiful setting for growing their cacao:
Don Isidro who runs this cacao growing & fermentation group with his family were incredibly nice, and probably due to the great mountain climate and his excellent fermentation techniques, they had the best cacao we tasted in Chiapas. A beautifully fruity taste without much astringency. And he and his family were really excited to taste the chocolate we'd made from some Mexican beans and brought with us, as these cacao growers rarely get to taste what happens to their cacao when it leaves the state and the country.
Let me tell you, we tasted a lot of cacao from the CASFA warehouse in order to select the best beans, probably a pound each between Dave and I of raw cacao a day (that's 100% chocolate, so the equivalent of about 1.5 lbs or 13 bars of dark chocolate), so we were pretty wired by the end of the day:
We also got some great news while we were in Chiapas that Nat will be teaching a bean-to-bar chocolate making class in New York City and the beautiful new Saveur Magazine test kitchen, that we've been asked to travel all the way to Sweden to teach a similar class, that chocolate bon bon makers in Belgium want to order our chocolate over even the internationally renowned Belgian chocolate, and that our new limited edition Xoconusco Rosita de Cacao chocolate bars, fresh out of the molds, will be kindly featured by Maricel Presilla at her exclusive tasting at the Fine Chocolate Industry Association meeting in Washington DC, on July 9! Things are really starting to take off!
Our next update will be from Oaxaca where will give you a taste of all the amazing and aromatic spices and flowers that are used in their traditional chocolate drinks like tejate, bu'pu, atole, pozol, and more. Stay tuned, and please ask everyone you know to make this project a success!
You're always welcome to help donate to our kickstarter campaign at
and how much in beans would you want? Depending on how much you want, we may be able to split off a shipment for you in Canada.
Nat Bletter, PhD