We’re about to produce great chocolate. The kind that makes you feel good.
Have you ever wondered what differentiates good chocolate from great chocolate?
Of course, the quality of cocoa beans matters. But there’s more to it. And the magical word here is fresh. Think of those herbs you use for cooking. There’s a big difference in taste when you pick them fresh from your backyard, or even from a small vase in the kitchen, compared to those you buy at grocery stores.
The same principle applies to chocolate making. That’s why the cacao beans we use to craft our bars are only locally sourced. Some directly from our 25-hectare farm – the Hacienda de Saari – where we are adding 15000 new cocoa trees to the already existing 10500, and some from other local producers. But the freshness of this raw material needs to properly managed. This is the reason we are building cocoa processing facilities to keep the quality all the way, from fermentation to drying. And by quality we also mean fair trade, ensuring that as we grow, our local partners grow with us.
Very soon now the finest cocoa beans will be delivered to what looks like a factory under construction. But this nearly finished building pictured in the photo is not a factory. That’s because a factory delivers standardized products. Better to call it a large craft facility. The home of uniquely delicious chocolate. But what makes it so unique?
Here’s another interesting fact about great chocolate: it does not always have the same taste. Just like great wines, their quality comes from the terroir. The climate and characteristics of the soil affect the flavors, which may vary crop after crop. You can always expect great taste, but also surprisingly subtle nuances.
But in a month or two, when Hacienda de Saari opens its doors, it will offer more than great chocolate. Huts, or better said, cabañas inside the property will provide comfortable accommodations for exploration tours. More than seeing how chocolate is made, from harvesting the fruits to producing delicious chocolate, visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the island. Beauty that we are helping to preserve with our reforestation initiative, which includes an already in progress plantation of 15000 cocoa, 10000 guanabana and 15000 banana trees in areas currently deprived of vegetation.And what makes this project even more meaningful is that it supports the Saari Foundation, an initiative created to provide funds and supplies to local communities. As the Dominican saying goes: “Al que a buen árbol se arrima, buena sombra lo cobija”, that is, “The one who leans on a good tree will get the good shade.”