In 2007, two men, Dan Pearson and Brian Horsley were sourcing fruit in Peru’s Marañón Canyon when they accidentally happened upon cacao trees growing in a remote horseshoe-shaped canyon surrounded by 6,000-feet canyon walls.
Upon opening the pods, they discovered that there were both white and purple beans inside, which struck them as rare and led them to send samples to the USDA for genetic testing.
As their (and ultimately our) luck would have it, the USDA confirmed that these two adventurers had accidentally re-discovered a rare Pure Nacional cacao variety, which had been tragically wiped out by disease and thought to be extinct.
The high canyon walls in the Marañón valley create a unique microclimate for cacao trees. The trees thrive at some of the highest altitudes ever reported for cacao, between 1060 and 1250 meters (or 3,500 and 4,100 feet). This is something really special!
Not surprisingly, this remote location as well as the altitude make transport challenging, and the beans are transported first by foot... then by donkey... followed by a motorcycle and finally by all-terrain vehicle.
Once the beans arrive to the farm, they are actually hand sorted and separated because it turns out that the white beans and the purple beans must be fermented differently.
This was determined after 81 different fermenting and drying trials over the course of two years.
This is truly a remarkable cacao bean and one we love working with. During different roast profile testing, where we test small batches at different roasting times and temperatures, we found that this bean had beautiful floral notes and light nuttiness. Personally, I taste something that reminds me of whiskey too. We chose a light roast at 74% cacao content with a short conch time as not to over-conch the delicate aromas out of this beautiful bar.
This is really a craft chocolate experience. This proves why savoring a single origin chocolate bar is well worth it. A little piece goes a long way. As purists, this is the one bar we prefer to enjoy all on its own (rather than with wine or whiskey for example). Have you tried it yet? we would love to know what you think!