An Early Valentine's Day for Chiapas Cacao Farmers
Yep, that's what you think it is: 27 packages of reward chocolate bars getting ready to be sent out to all of you fabulous backers who requested early delivery sans Chiapas cacao.
But it's not only a good day for those of you that'll get your bars for Valentine's Day. It's a good day, no, week for all of us including the cacao growers in Xoconusco since we've finally made some progress on our cacao shipment. With cooperation from shippers & customs agents, and endless hard work from the cacao growers and their co-operative, who managed to get all the cacao perfectly fermented, dried & ready to go! We've been on the phone with them all week and it looks like if we just get a couple more forms & procedures worked out, we'll have the cacao on the road to us before the end of the month.
We never realized when we started this how difficult the final delivery of the cacao would be to orchestrate and how many unpredictable variables the cacao growers were dealing with like wanting lots of rain for growing good fruit but not wanting rain when it's time to dry the cacao. Cacao is a very water hungry plant, requiring at least 60 inches or 1500 mm of rain/year, so you have this paradox that it'll only grow in really wet places, but within a week of harvesting the fruit, after fermentation, you want it to be relatively dry so the cacao can dry quickly in the hot sun without having to move it back & forth into & out of the sun and avoiding mold growing on the cacao. In future work with the Xoconusco cacao growers, we will try to help build new cacao drying facilities like some of the great greenhouses we've seen in Hawai'i which can often be even rainier and colder than Chiapas. It's only through this back & forth exchange between all these cacao growing regions that we can really increase everyone's knowledge, grow & ferment better cacao, and ensure fair prices for everyone involved for their hard work.
We thank you again for all your understanding in dealing with the vagaries of nature and shipping an agricultural product over four thousand miles. We're as eager to get our hands into making the delicious Xoconusco chocolate as I'm sure all of you are! We'll keep the updates coming as soon as we hear anything new in the coming weeks.
Instead of idly waiting for the cacao, we're working on recipes so we'll be able to start making things as soon as we get it. We've found sources of Rosita de Cacao flowers and pataxte/jaguar cacao in Hawai‘i and we're grinding, mixing and formulating those as we speak. The pataxte has an amazing umami savoriness to it that tastes like a macadamia or cashew nut but with much more character. Having all this nuttiness but none of the bitterness, it makes a great foil for cacao in a delectable combo. Throw in a little of the maple syrup smelling rosita flowers and it's out of this world!
Everyone have a wonderful, chocolate-filled Valentine's Day! We & the Xoconusco cacao growers thank you for your generosity.
Pataxte and Rosita de Cacao grown on Big Island, Hawai'i
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Jun 15, 2011 - Aug 14, 2011 (60 days)
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Pledge $20 or more
50 backers Limited (10 of 60 left)
A bar of stone ground, organic dark chocolate crafted from aromatic cacao beans grown by a coop of small farmers in Chiapas, Mexico.Estimated delivery: Oct 2011
Pledge $35 or more
50 backers Limited (10 of 60 left)
A bar of our organic, Chiapas dark chocolate plus a bar made with these aromatic cacao beans and traditional Mayan chocolate ingredients such as chili, allspice, rosita de cacao, orijuelas, or sapayul.Estimated delivery: Oct 2011
Pledge $60 or more
24 backers Limited (36 of 60 left)
One of our new beta flavors (well before the rest of the public has a chance to taste it)! Plus a bar of our organic, Chiapas dark chocolate and a bar made with these aromatic cacao beans and traditional Mayan chocolate ingredients such as chili, allspice, rosita de cacao, orijuelas, or sapayul.Estimated delivery: Oct 2011
Pledge $100 or more
37 backers Limited (8 of 45 left)
A one-of-a-kind jaguar cacao chocolate (made with patashte, the sister plant of cacao). Plus a bar each of organic, Chiapas dark chocolate, a chocolate with a traditional Mayan ingredient, and one of our new beta flavors (well before the rest of the public has a chance to taste it)!
Pledge $500 or more
0 backers Limited (20 of 20 left)
We will create a delicious bar to your specifications, either dark, milk, or flavored with your favorite ingredient, and send you 5 of these personalized bars.
Pledge $1,000 or more
We'll bring you into our chocolate shop in Hawaii for a day to learn how to make chocolate. If you can't make it to Hawaii, we'll send you an entire chocolate-making class kit complete with all the ingredients, chocolate tasting samples, and clear recipes. Plus we'll send you all of the rewards listed above!
Pledge $5,000 or more
We will send you all the above special and personalized chocolate bars, and we'lll invite you to accompany us to southern Mexico or Central America on one of our cacao explorations to see first hand where chocolate was invented, and learn how the ancient and modern Mesoamericans make their delicious chocolate drinks and foods with beautiful aromatic flowers and spices (airline tickets not included).