October 2012 ! We landed in the midst of the election campaign ! It was hectic, but de new Miss Venezuela was a young cocoa farmer and that made up for a lot. So we went searching for the best cocoa beans that could have special properties. The Criollo- and Trinitario-beans from the Caracas area are known for their natural vanilla and caramel taste. Ideal therefore, to use them in a sublime milk chocolate with 43% cocoa. The combination with walnut and cardamom is top.
Try our origin bar from Venezuela, available in our webshop, and get a taste of our story.
Caracas. The favela’s here are the largest and most dangerous of South America. But the human species is a surviving one, so they invented a safe way to travel : a ski lift high above the ground , and in most restaurants it is forbidden to bring fire arms. Checking up with a metal detector at the entry…
Luckily there is the extremely friendly population and numerous markets with an incredible range of herbs : 50 cm long cinnamon sticks, dozens of different banana species, and local specialties like a sex-drink based on ant poison.
After “shocking Caracas” we are in need of some nature and willing to start our search for cocoa. Because the jungle here is really impenetrable we have to travel along the coast to the 16th century village Chuao, the Mekka of chocolate, situated in the midst of plantations where probably the best criollo in the world is harvested, together with the Porcelana Blanca. A tiny colonial church with a huge churchyard to sun-dry the cocoa beans. Socialism and chocolate go hand in hand and the spirit of Chavez is still present everywhere. Venezuala, the land of childish simplicity and contradictions, where religion tends to folklore and socialism to dictatorship, but where the revolution is still simmering.
Finally the delta of the Orinoco-river, the Boca de Tigre, where the Warao Indians live in villages on poles, an earthly paradise for nature lovers. Some wonderful days and a completely different world in the cocoa jungle.
All is not what it seems, and along the Orinoco we find a bean we think is cocoa, but it is a different fruit, the “Cacao de Agua”, edible, but nothing to do with real cocoa.
The Orinoco delta is bursting with fish, including ferocious carnivorous piranha’s that do not hesitate to attack people. Hunting them gives a special kick, but mind your fingers : even out of the water they bite through a wooden stick ! Merciless, like the jungle and the favela’s.
The Bolivian Republic of Venezuela, a beautiful country with a long and probably difficult road ahead.