While opening the Cacao and Chocolate Museum in Cusco, we decided to travel to the "Valle de la Convención" (5 hours from Cusco), region where most cacao is produced in Peru.
Talking to some producers or cooperatives, we saw that in fact cacao is not or poorly fermented in these region because farmers do not receive enough money to ferment their cacao so they prefer selling it without fermentation.
A lot of people here in Cusco prepare and produce what they call "Chocolate para taza" which is mainly cacao paste (or cacao liquor) that people use to prepare hot chocolate mixing it with hot water or milk. And in fact a lot of these producers do not know about fermentation and the impact that it has on the flavour of chocolate.
At ChocoMuseo we have decided to work with a small cooperative called "Cooperativa Jose Olaya" to be able to get some good fermented cacao. All the producers seem to be enthusiasmed by the project. For the moment, only 5 or 6 will ferment their cacao properly but the objective is that the whole 104 farmers in a few years will produce high quality cacao and find other buyers who can assure them good prices.
In a week we will receive our first batch of fermented cacao (Chuncho and Hybrid) and we will make our chocolate and see how it will come out. Very exciting in fact! We'll tell you more about it on our blog/website - http://Peru.ChocoMuseo.com