By Analiese Paik
Cacao Nacional, a cacao species considered to produce the finest single varietal chocolate in the world, was blighted and obliterated in its native Ecuador in 1919. Believed to be extinct, the chocolate has been absent from the finest professional kitchens for almost 100 years. Now, two Americans – Dan Pearson and his stepson Brian Horsley – have remarkably rediscovered Cacao Nacional while working in Peru. The pair accidentally found the lost species in the Marañón Canyon of Peru on the land of an organic farmer named Don Fortunato. The DNA from Fortunato’s “mother tree” proved to be a 100% match to the original Cacao Nacional from Ecuador, officially blessing the discovery and creating a frenzy in the world of fine chocolate.
Marañón Chocolate company was born and Cacao Nacional, hailed as the finest chocolate in the world, soon began drizzling back into professional kitchens where it’s highly prized by pastry chefs and chocolatiers for its fruity and floral flavors and aromas and complete lack of bitterness, a quality attributed to its white beans. Incredibly, there’s now enough of this rare chocolate for it to be made into bars for retail sale. A short list of retailers sell the 68% cacao bittersweet chocolate bars, dubbed Fortunato No. 4 to signify the fourth tree tested on Fortunato’s property. This rare and wonderful single varietal, single origin chocolate is our #1 eco luxe gift pick for the holiday season. Seriously, you can’t go wrong.
Where to Buy:
Online sales can be placed exclusively through a short list of select chocolatiers including Moonstruck Chocolate Co. in Portland, Oregon.The ultimate in chocolate eating and eco-luxe gift giving awaits you at $12 for a 2 ounce bar. Moonstruck also sells Tumbled Chocolate Beans, Fortunato beans covered in Fortunato chocolate, at $12 for a 3.5 ounce box. Click here for a complete list of worldwide sellers.
Here’s to supporting good taste, biodiversity, sustainable growers, and artisan food entrepreneurs in 2012 and beyond!