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Jeff Stern's Blog (9)

Ten Thousand Plus Reasons To Save Ecuadorian Chocolate





Ecuadorian Nacional Cacao Pod



A few months ago I read a compelling dissertation by Cristian Melo on the loss of Ecuador's fine flavor cacao and the plight of  Ecuador's tens of thousands of small farmers. It inspired to me to act, in some small  way, to help small… Continue

Added by Jeff Stern on October 24, 2011 at 11:00am — No Comments

The Arriba Nacional Denomination of Origin in Ecuador

As I have discussed in previous posts, a truly valid definition of the Arriba Nacional term when applied to Ecuadorian cacao, or simply the Arriba name, includes Nacional beans sourced in parts of the Province of Guayas, the Province of Los Ríos and a small fraction of the Province of Bolívar. Ecuador historically produced fine flavor cacao from many other areas which were all Nacional beans but marketed under distinct names, including Bahia-from the area around Bahia de Caraquez, not to be…

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Added by Jeff Stern on September 20, 2011 at 5:00pm — 2 Comments

Life Between Cacao Harvests

In Ecuador, cocoa harvesting takes place two times per year. Harvests runs between February and April, and then again begin again between August and October. This dual harvest system means that cocoa plantations are often busy, as are chocolate makers. However, there are still seasons of the year when the cacao farms are between harvests and things are a bit slower. This naturally begs the question of what to do in the off season for chocolate?

One of the things we always recommend to…

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Added by Jeff Stern on August 1, 2011 at 1:21pm — No Comments

"Fine or Flavor" Cacao versus Bulk Cacao

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Added by Jeff Stern on July 25, 2011 at 5:20pm — 8 Comments

May 19-22 Salon de Chocolate Ecuador at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Ecuador

Just got the schedule for the Salon de Chocolate, which is held now for the third year and sponsored by the Franco-Ecuadorian Chamber of Commerce. I was invited to participate as I was last year, but had to decline since we are too busy. Also, just was not convinced that spending a couple of hundred dollars (since it's not really an invitation but a paid chance to participate), with a "successful" turnout of maybe 700 people, would be good for business. Unfortunately, there's just not that…

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Added by Jeff Stern on May 17, 2011 at 10:15pm — No Comments

Ecuador's Super Cacao

One of the interesting programs going on here involves what growers and organizations are calling "super cacao." Turns out that on most if not all cocoa farms, there always happens to be a few trees that have superior yields and greater disease resistance than all the rest.

 

At first, I had no idea what people were talking about-shortly thereafter, I realized that I knew the two North American landowners who were actually pioneering this effort. They began by identifying and…

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Added by Jeff Stern on March 28, 2011 at 4:30pm — 4 Comments

Ecuadorian Chocolate-What You Need To Know

Arriba Chocolate



In a previous post, I discussed the definition of "Arriba" chocolate and beans-while there's no legal definition, Arriba can be used to denominate either beans of the Nacional variety from the "Arriba" or upriver area of the Guayas River Basin in the lowlands of southwestern Ecuador, or chocolate made from those beans. So is Arriba a chocolate or a type of bean? It can be both, depending on with whom you are speaking. Growers may call their beans Arriba variety, and… Continue

Added by Jeff Stern on July 10, 2009 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Why Isn't Aequare Chocolates Organic?

Aequare Chocolates gets frequent inquiries as to why we're not organic. It's not because we don't want to be, or don't support organic. It's because we simply can't, for all practical purposes, be organic.



Organic Chocolate For Bars And Organic Couverture



First off, all organic chocolate actually produced here in country is shipped abroad and almost none of it is for sale here. It's shipped abroad directly by its producers because there is a market for it abroad. Consumers… Continue

Added by Jeff Stern on July 6, 2009 at 2:30pm — 1 Comment

Food Fete NYC, June 2009

I arrived in NY Saturday evening from Ecuador-no delays and no hitches. Customs went through my chocolates in Miami but they seemed more curious than anything, and after a brief inspection let me on my way. Sunday was the behemoth Fancy Food Show, which was no less than the size of 20 supermarkets in one place, with thousands of food items being displayed. I gorged on Grana Padano Parm and Prosciutto while waiting to meet people- I was lucky enough to be able to squeeze in meetings with all the… Continue

Added by Jeff Stern on July 6, 2009 at 2:20pm — No Comments

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