Ucayali River 73% – 2017 Harvest
Numerous farming communities in the Ucayali and Huánuco regions with a range of terroirs. Fresh, wet cacao is collected in clean rice sacks from numerous communities in the Pucallpa and Tingo Maria areas, and transported to a central processing center that is owned and operated by Ucayali River Cacao. The cacao collected from these two areas is fermented separately but is blended after drying and grading to create the balanced profile of Ucayali River Cacao.
These regions have an Amazonian climate with high rainfall throughout the year with a somewhat drier season from May through August, but there is little variation in average temperatures. Tingo Maria is a higher elevation region (~2000’ ASL) than Pucallpa (~500’ ASL) and has a cooler, misty climate. Farms in Tingo Maria are in the hills bordering the Huallaga River. The flatter terrain in the Pucallpa area is along the banks of the Aguaytia and Ucayali Rivers. All of three of these rivers are tributaries of the Amazon and are known to have wild stands of cacao trees. Trees bear the highest quality fruit from April to August in most years, but it appears the 2018 harvest will start as early as March. Only fresh cacao opened the morning of pick-up is sourced and loaded into fermentation boxes by nightfall.
Our approach to creating our chocolate is very similar to the process of making wine. We only use natural ingredients with no fillers (such as cacao butter, artificial flavors, synthetic emulsifiers, etc.) to let each variety show its unique character. Single origin chocolate is chocolate that’s made from one variety of cacao harvested in one region. Why does this matter? Cacao is a plant. Like other plants, its beans take on the characteristics of the region where it’s grown—its terroir. Many terms used to describe single origin chocolate will be familiar to wine lovers—earthy, floral, herbal and berry, to name a few. When cacao is blended, the effect of terroir is lost just like wines. This variety is harvested in fall 2017. Limited release in December 2018.
We taste a delicate cacao base with very mild fruit and floral notes of spice and light wood. Very low bitterness and astringency and an overall soft and delicate profile.
All of our single-origin chocolate is made with just cacao beans and organic unrefined sugar; no added cacao butter, lecithin, or vanilla. Our chocolate is free of soy, dairy, eggs, and gluten, and it is made in a factory that does not process dairy, peanuts or tree-nuts with the exception of coconut.