cacao

What We Want To Do

We all love chocolate. But wouldn’t it be even better if you knew the story behind who grew the beans that went into your bar? Exactly where they came from, how they were grown, and how they were transported and then transformed into that magical substance we all love? Help us to make direct purchases from our partner farmers/cooperatives in Ecuador. We will pay them a fair price-their price-for top quality heritage Nacional beans, and create the amazing elixir that comes only from Ecuadorian cocoa beans.

Why Ecuador?

Why are we so excited about Ecuador? Most of the world’s chocolate is your average bulk grade mediocre stuff. The cocoa beans are bought and sold in massive amounts with little regard for quality. But 5% of the world’s cocoa beans are considered “fine grade” and Ecuador is the world’s largest producer of these beans.

Unfortunately, even Ecuador’s famous Nacional cacao bean is disappearing with the introduction of new hybrid varieties. With our efforts, we aim to not only make a top-shelf chocolate, but to engage in direct trade with cacao growers, and highlight the threats facing Ecuador’s farmers and Ecuador’s world famous heritage Nacional cacao.

How We’ll Do It

How will we source the cacao beans and make the chocolate? We’ve arranged to purchase Nacional cacao from key regions of Ecuador. Because we live in Ecuador and work in the chocolate business, and through the help of Cristian Melo who has spent years working with cacao producers’ associations, we have identified prime sources of top-quality Nacional cacao beans and will buy directly from farmers´ cooperatives. Jeffrey Stern is our Ecuador Sourcing Manager, and has lived in Ecuador for five years. He lives and breathes chocolate and knows Ecuador’s cacao industry firsthand. Jeff is our man-on-the-ground for the purchase and transport of the beans.

Who will make the chocolate? Dana Brewster and Mark Del Vecchio, ofMillcreek Cacao Roasters in Salt Lake City, will make the chocolate at their artisan facility. When the beans arrive at their facility, they will carefully clean and inspect them, then roast, winnow, grind, conche and refine them to silky perfection, to be molded into beautiful shiny bars for your delight. Bars will be hand-packaged, then sold at Millcreek Cacao’s existing locations, as well as online and through other venues.

In each of the regions we select beans from, the bar packaging will include the story of our growers. Not only will you hear about the growers through the bars and taste their story, but we plan to document every step of the process in writing, via blog, and video, to develop a direct trade model others can implement!

How will your donations help make the project happen? We’ve already laid out all the groundwork. We have the logistics and equipment in place. You contributions will help us to pay a fair price to the growers and transport the beans to the US, and make the chocolate and send it out to our supporters!

Rewards

Our rewards include limited edition chocolate bars made from Ecuador´s rare cacao, ever-lasting dried cacao pods, and other chocolate goodies made with the project´s chocolate.  At the top levels, we will invite you to Salt Lake City to see our production facilities, and Ecuador to learn about cocoa and chocolate on the ground!

More Info

You can read about some of the issues we’re trying to address atwww.jeffreygstern.com/blog and www.destination-ecuador.net. As well, we highly recommend reading http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/etd/331/ to learn about some of the issues facing Ecuadorian cacao growers we’d like to address with this project.

Welcome to Destination Ecuador!

Welcome to Destination Ecuador! My family and I have been living in Ecuador for the last four and a half years. We’ve dealt with the worst kinds of red-tape, searched out or ended up making hard-to-find ingredients ourselves, imported equipment for making chocolate confections, learned the import-export business...Continue >>

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