The cacao we use grows from a tree, “Theobrama cacao” an evergreen native to tropical regions. After maturing for four years the tree will finally start to develop pods. The pods grow directly from the trunk ranging in various colors, however they always hold the same rich cacao beans. The growth of the cacao on these trees flourish best above sea level, with an exceptional amount of rain. Our farmers in Ecuador constantly walk their organic based farms to ensure that the pods are properly growing and handpicked at the right time.
Our “Arriba Nacional” cacao for Pacari chocolate is grown in Ecuador, specifically endemic to the country. The trees which produce our pods are handpicked by our farmers when fully ripe and turned into our quality chocolate. This freshly cut pod holds the seeds, surrounded by soft white pulp which holds a sweet flavor. This cacao native to Ecuador is known for its rich, full taste and complex fruity and floral notes.
Once the beans are harvested from their pods, the fermentation process begins. The cacao is fermented for a few days, where they are stored in wooden boxes. Fermentation is important to creating our quality chocolate, because this is when it reaches its fully developed flavor.
After the process of fermentation, the cacao beans then enter the drying stage to reduce the moisture content. This process can take a few days before the chocolate can be made.
Once the beans are carefully dried and cleaned, roasting can begin. Roasting is one of the most important steps in the process of cacao developing its color and chocolate flavor. During the roasting step, the shells become loose and are separated from the kernel.