Valentine’s Day is the perfect day of the year for sharing the best chocolates in the world with whom you love. Below you will discover 14 of the world’s finest cacao farms and where to purchase their chocolate for Valentine’s Day. HCP has identified the world’s most flavorful cacao beans to bring YOU the absolute best possible quality chocolate for Valentine’s. HCP supported cacao farms create the best tasting, most sophisticated, ethically responsible chocolate products in the world supporting bio-diversity, and sustainability improving the farmers lives and protecting the highest quality quickly vanishing cacao. HCP is non profit collaboration between the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS). Do you support preserving high quality, amazing tasting chocolate? Become a Bursary Sponsor. Alto Beni, Bolivia Tasting Notes Powerful but balanced. Complex chocolate and rich, tart fruit / browned fruits—a tawny port. Dark fruits (cherry, currant), browned fruits (dark raisin, soft dates) elements of mild green fruit (mangoes, kiwi). Finish with a dulce de leche richness and a long chocolate finish with mild astringency. About Alto Beni Cacao, Supporting this Cacao Line and Where to Buy Volker Lehmann left his native Germany for Bolivia in 2000. In 2008 he started to work with farmers in Alto Beni to develop an exquisite fine flavored cacao. Support and Donate Locations to Purchase Specifically ask for chocolate made with Bolivian HCP Heirloom Cacao #1! Buy Bolivian chocolate made from Heirloom designated farms! • A PRIORI, Salt Lake City, USA Bean to bar producer: • Zokoko in Australia produces 68% Alto Beni bars with FULL traceability to the exact trees of Volker’s designated Heirloom by the HCP. Tranquilidad Estate, Bolivia Tasting Notes Striking initial chocolate and combined tart fruit. Fruit has floral overtones—slightly spicy, resinous with green notes. Has a trace vanilla character. Fruit has citrus with slight balsamic wood resin and aged fruit notes. Extremely complex with a mix of chocolate, fresh citrus and aged fruits. Complex acidity. Chocolate is tamed but has a prolonged finish. About Bolivia Cacao, Supporting this Cacao Line and Where to Buy Volker left his native Germany for Bolivia in 2000 as trained agriculturist and international agroforestry expert. With farmer family background, he developed the jungle estate “Tranquilidad” and a wild harvest collection system with local and indigenous families throughout the Beni Department. He uses selected wet beans for box and bag fermentation and sells limited volumes around the world. Support and Donate Buy Bolivian chocolate made from Heirloom designated farms! Specifically ask for chocolate made with Bolivian HCP Heirloom Cacao #2! Locations to Purchase • A PRIORI (USA) Tree-to-bar producer: • TF Tranquilidad Estate, Beniano cacao wild harvest (BO) Bean to Bar producers: • Amano Artisan Chocolate (USA) for TF Tranquilidad chocolates • Brasstown Chocolate (USA) • Chokola bean to bar (USA) • LetterPress Chocolate (USA) • Rogue Chocolatier (USA) • Solstice Chocolate (USA) • Patrice Chapon (FR) • Palette de Bine (CA) • Chocolution (GB) • Chocolate Alchemy (USA) HCP Tranquilidad beans • Daarnhouwer & Co (NL) Wild Beniano blend • Royal Arts (JP) Hacienda Limon, Los Rios, Ecuador Tasting Notes Very mild initial profile that persists throughout. You must look closely! Complex nutty and caramelic / honey / malt caramel notes dominate with a background smooth, mild, very low bitterness and astringency chocolate. This is not about the chocolate, it is about the caramelic notes! About Ecuador Cacao, Supporting this Cacao Line and Where to Buy Samuel von Rutte was born in Switzerland. He left his native country for Ecuador 25 years ago. He now lives with his family among the farmers to help grow and process these Heirloom beans. He makes bulk chocolate in Ecuador, which he sells in Europe, the USA, and other markets. Support and Donate Buy Ecuadorian chocolate made from Heirloom designated farms! Locations to Purchase Specifically ask for chocolate made with Ecuadorian HCP Heirloom Cacao #3! • Pump Street Bakery • Millcreek Cacao Roasters • Patrice Chapon • Creo Chocolate • Beanpod Chocolate • Chocolates Naturales MUNAY • La Flor Zurichocolatier • indi Chocolate ASOANE, Puerto Quito, Ecuador Tasting Notes Very complex. Finish is balanced and long lasting with chocolate being dominant and a velvety chocolate astringency. Pronounced chocolate start is augmented with caramel and nutty notes. Mid-tastes brings in mild fruit acidity and astringent notes that drive the nut/nut skins character along with a complex plum/dark fruit and other fruit notes. About Ecuador Cacao, Supporting this Cacao Line and Where to Buy la Asociación de Productores Agropecuarios Artesanal Nueva Esperanza (ASOANE) is an association of 25 producers of artisanal agriculture located in Puerto Quito, Ecuador. Cacao farming arrived to this region over 75 years ago with Nacional cacao brought in from the neighboring Los Rios Province –known not only for its complex flavor profile but its cohabitation with other plants and trees that promote habitats for midge pollinators, birds, and other animals. Jose Meza and Barbara Wilson, of Mindo Chocolate Makers, work with the ASOANE farmers and provided the beans for submission of their Nacional variety cacao beans for Heirloom designation. Mindo is a bean-to-bar chocolate maker that spans two countries, two continents, over 3,000 miles, and a community they believe includes anyone and everyone who comes into contact with their raw ingredients and finished products. To learn more about their story and how Mindo came to be, visit their website at https://mindochocolate.com. Support and Donate Buy Ecuadorian chocolate made from Heirloom designated farms! Locations to Purchase Specifically ask for chocolate made with Ecuadorian HCP Heirloom Cacao #5! • Mindo Chocolate Makers Terciopelo, Coto Brus, Costa Rica Tasting Notes Early fresh fruit acidity that brings out berries, currants and raspberries. This is followed by a smooth, balanced chocolate note that combines a citrus and under ripe mango. A smooth, clean finish, especially the way the fruits persisted until the end. A great intensity of the chocolate flavor given the mild aroma and light color. This finish is very long lasting and brings in a tart browned raisin/prune character. About Costa Rica Cacao, Supporting this Cacao Line and Where to Buy Terciopelo Cacao has been in production in the southern part of Costa Rica near the town of San Vito since March 2007. Owners Keli and James Carouba bought the largest cacao plantation on the Pacific side of Costa Rica and with the help of local farmers and Dan O’Doherty, owner and president of Cacao Services Agricultural & Scientific Consulting, have expanded the plantation with heirloom designated cacao varieties. Support and Donate Buy Costa Rican chocolate made from Heirloom designated farms! Locations to Purchase Specifically ask for chocolate made with Costa Rican HCP Heirloom Cacao #6! • Manoa Chocolate Maya Mountain Cacao Ltd. Farmer Network Tasting Notes Balanced, complex, smooth flavor segues from mild fresh fruit acidity drive fruit notes (blood orange citrus, apricot, mango, plums in syrup). chocolate notes, caramelic notes. The complexity of this sample is dramatic: well-balanced and smooth, yet surprisingly complex with all the flavor notes maintaining their distinctiveness but not overpowering each other. About Belize Cacao, Supporting this Cacao Line and Where to Buy Maya Mountain Cacao (MMC) is a specialty cacao sourcing company that works across the Toledo, Stann Creek and Cayo districts of Belize. MMC purchases fresh cacao, ferments and dries the cacao, and exports to a variety of specialty chocolate makers in the U.S. and Europe. In 2015, MMC farmers earned Heirloom Cacao Preservation (HCP) designation for a set of farms in the villages of San Antonio, Santa Elena, and Pueblo Viejo, in the Toledo District. The trees and farms in this designation were carefully selected and submitted by agronomist Dan O’Doherty of Cacao Services Inc. Daniel O’Doherty moved to Hawaii in 2005 and began his work with cacao throughout the Hawaiian Islands. His work now extends internationally as a consultant to help better agricultural practices and post-harvest processing techniques, which is how he came to work closely with these Maya Mountain villages. Support and Donate Buy Belizean chocolate made from Heirloom designated farms! Locations to Purchase Specifically ask for chocolate made with Belizean HCP Heirloom Cacao #7! • Animas • Boho Chocolate • Cacao Man Studio • Casa Chokola • Castronovo • Chalyce Chocolate • Charm School Chocolate • Chocolate Alchemy • Chocolopolis • Chocxo • Chris Eblow • Cocoa Road • Coconama • Cultura • Del Sol • Dick Taylor • Double Spiral • Dulcinea • E3 Artisan • Firefly Chocolate • Five Mile • Fresh Coast Chocolate • Glennmade • Gus Chocolate • Healtholicious • Hunted + Gathered • Johnny Iuzinni • Just Good Chocolate • Letterpress Chocolate • Lucocoa Chocolate • MAIF • Maverick Chocolate • Middlebury • Mike Sever • OMC! • Palette de Bine • Parliament • Pipevine Chocolate • Ranger Chocolate • Ritual • Robin Griswold • Smooth Chocolator • Sweetie’s Fine Chocolate • Tejas Chocolate • Terroir Chocolate • Tosier Chocolate • Videri • Violet Sky Chocolate • Vivra • WM Chocolate • Zak’s Municipios de La Dalia, El Cua, Nicaragua Tasting Notes First, there is an unusually soft/ fast melt texture. The flavor is an immediate burst of fresh fruit brightness of citric and tart red fruits, Maybe a slight pineapple note. Nut notes become apparent along with a mild oak/light wood character. While chocolate is present, it is more of a background note, quite mild overall. About Nicaragua Cacao, Supporting this Cacao Line and Where to Buy Ingemann Fine cocoa is a Danish company settled in Nicaragua since 2007. Focused on fine flavor cocoa, the company established relationships with over 400 producers from whom they buy in wet-mass, and do the post-harvest centrally to ensure quality and consistency. They committed to long-term contracts with the producers, ensuring them a market access for 30 years and paying a premium price of 25% above NY. Support and Donate Buy Nicaraguan chocolate made from Heirloom designated farms! Locations to Purchase Specifically ask for chocolate made with Nicaraguan HCP Heirloom Cacao #8! • Friis-Holm • Pitch Dark Chocolate • Frank Morin • Castronovo Chocolate Piedra de Plata, Ecuador Tasting Notes Presents a dark, rich, full-bodied color depth. The blend of dark fruit/browned fruits (dates, raisins), deep molasses, and oaky notes these present with a very mild bitterness and a soft, velvety astringency that is captivating. Contradicting the mildness of the aroma, the chocolate is a significant presence in this sample. About Ecuador Cacao, Supporting this Cacao Line and Where to Buy To’ak was born from a rainforest conservation project that started in 2007 in the coastal region of Ecuador. It was here that co-founder Jerry Toth began cultivating cacao trees and making chocolate in a thatched bamboo house secluded in the middle of a forest. As part of his conservation work, Jerry spent several years cultivating an organic fruit tree orchard that features cacao trees mixed with over fifty different species of other tropical fruit trees. In the mountains above the house, Jerry also found semi-wild cacao growing along stream banks. He and his team harvested this cacao and used it to make chocolate in the Bamboo House, following the methods taught to them by their neighbors. After years of honing his passion, Jerry linked up with co-founder Carl Schweizer and fourth-generation Ecuadorian cacao grower Servio Pachard, on whose farm To’ak cacao is meticulously fermented and dried. To’ak cacao is sourced from a close-knit group of fourteen cacao growers from the valley of Piedra de Plata, who share 10% of To’ak’s profits. Carl and Jerry produce the chocolate along with Guillermo Heredia in Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, at the Ecuatoriana de Chocolates factory. Dennise Valencia, born and raised in Quito, is To’ak’s general manager and is married to Carl. From earth to tree to bean to bar, To’ak chocolate is produced entirely in Ecuador. Click here for email contact. Support and Donate Buy Ecuadorian chocolate made from Heirloom designated farms! Locations to Purchase Specifically ask for chocolate made with Ecuadorian HCP Heirloom Cacao #9! • Zazu Restaurant, Quito • Galapagos Safari Camp, Galapagos • Harrods, London • Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Macau • Broadway Luxury, Worcestershire • Wally’s Wine & Spirits, Beverly Hills • Wally’s Wine & Spirits, Santa Monica • The Market, San Francisco • Di Bruno Brothers, Philadelphia • De Laurenti Food & Wine, Seattle • 2Beans, New York City • Neiman Marcus (Hudson Yards), New York City • Now Mansion, Beijing • Deer Jet, Beijing • Lingenhel, Vienna APOVINCES, Ecuador Tasting Notes Early, mildly tart notes with an acetic and citric character. “Bright” overall with notable intensity. The woody / resinous notes of the aroma come through clearly together with a mild background astringency. In the background some dark fruit notes (citrus, cane berry, cassis) with what seems like a finish of trace nutmeg and cinnamon and tobacco spice. About Ecuador Cacao, Supporting this Cacao Line and Where to Buy Vinces—heart of the historic Nacional estates of the 18th & 19th centuries. In 2006, with great optimism, a group of vinceños, small cultivators of the land decided to form an organization to boost clean agriculture, market production, provide training as key to improving farm productivity and the living conditions of farmers and their families. Support and Donate Buy Ecuadorian chocolate made from Heirloom designated farms! Locations to Purchase Specifically ask for chocolate made with Ecuadorian HCP Heirloom Cacao #10! • Stella Bernrain CH • Conexion Chocolate EC • Apovinces – Chapulo EC • El Salinerito EC San Jose de Bocay, Nicaragua Tasting Notes An immediate burst of a fresh fruit salad– begins with a evanescent brown fruit (dates, figs) then shifts to a red fruit and mixed tropical fruit character with ripe plums, berries, red currant accompanied by a fruit bowl of mango, apricot and pineapple. Mid-taste displays the beginnings of a honey / light molasses / panella. Light nut notes shift to a nut skins character at the end. The end finishes with hints of a vanilla and a mocha character. Masculine in its character and intensity. About Nicaragua Cacao, Supporting this Cacao Line and Where to Buy The Chuno is a single-variety, processed separately from harvest to export from other varieties to preserve its unique flavor characteristics. The wet-mass is processed in a centralized facility where the post-harvest can be entirely controlled to ensure quality and consistency over time. Support and Donate Buy Nicaraguan chocolate made from Heirloom designated farms! Locations to Purchase Specifically ask for chocolate made with Nicaraguan HCP Heirloom Cacao #12! • Mikkel Friis-Holm (Chuno Double-turn) • Alain Ducasse (Nicaragua Chuno bar) • Chocolat Chapon (Chuno) • Zoto (Chuno 75%). Pham Thanh Cong, Mekong Delta, Vietnam Tasting Notes Clear base chocolate notes with a browned fruit character. Throughout the flavor profile, there is a unique desiccated coconut note that persists through to the end taste. This coconut note is accompanied by a dried fruit and spice character that is cinnamon and cardamom—its spice character combined with the dried and browned fruit is reminiscent of tonka beans with its additional saffron and bitter almond. Unique! About Vietnam Cacao, Supporting this Cacao Line and Where to Buy Mr. Cong’s farm is in a densely populated and agriculturally developed part of the Mekong Delta. The farm is on an island between two of the many branches of the Mekong river, which is reached by a motorized ferry. The cacao trees grow under a dappling canopy of palms and other tall trees and are irrigated by canals that bring water directly from the river. Support and Donate Buy Vietnamese chocolate made from Heirloom designated farms! Locations to Purchase Specifically ask for chocolate made with Vietnamese HCO Heirloom Cacao #13! • Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat Tujikomboe Farmers Group, Tanzania Tasting Notes Immediate presence of a rich chocolate note with an early fruit acidity presence immediately following the chocolate blending in tart fresh fruits—citrus and tropical—a note that will persist throughout the flavor profile. Center point of the profile sees the emergence of the browned raisins and dates with a touch of tart prune combined with a dark molasses and dark wood (oak) notes.. At the same time, a slight spice note appears with the bright elements of cardamom, mace and a piquant black pepper. Long finish! Complex with the base chocolate of Amelonado from Africa. About Tanzania Cacao, Supporting this Cacao Line and Where to Buy Support and Donate Buy Tanzanian chocolate made from Heirloom designated farms! Locations to Purchase Specifically ask for chocolate made with Tanzanian HCP Heirloom Cacao #14! Afrikoa Akesson’s Bejofo Estate, Madagascar Tasting Notes There is an immediate burst of a fresh tart citric fruit—sour cherry, citron, tart orange and lemon with a soft fleshy fruit side—apricot, soursop, guanaba. The center taste has the emergence of a very mild cocoa / chocolate note but immediately supplanted by that same nut note as in the aroma along with some mildly astringent nut skins that are connected with a mild pepper piquancy. Throughout this taste profile, there is an overlay of a caramelized sugar / panella / sweet toffee note. The criollo parentage is certainly showing through! About Madagascar Cacao, Supporting this Cacao Line and Where to Buy Located in the Sambirano Valley, in the North-West of Madagascar, Bejofo Estate spreads over about 2000ha. Since 1920, it has produced world-famous aromatic cocoa, and today many of the top chefs & chocolate makers around the world use cocoa from this estate. Support and Donate Buy Madagascan chocolate made from Heirloom designated farms! Locations to Purchase Specifically ask for chocolate made with Madagascan HCP Heirloom Cacao #15! • Akesson’s Single Plantation Chocolate Line • Alain Ducasse (FR) • Askinosie (made a special edition in 2018) (US) • Bonnat (FR) • Patrice Chapon (FR) • Chocolopolis (US) • Darcis (BE) • Marcolini (BE) • Pump Street Bakery (UK) • Rozsavolgyi Csokolade (HU) Puentespina Farms, Philippines Tasting Notes Smooth, even melt texture—silky and sensuous feel. Smooth rise of the chocolate blended with mildly tart fresh berry and citrus fruits. Includes yellow flesh fruits—peach—notes as well. Center taste has a sweet caramel / toffee character blended in with a smooth mild chocolate. Later taste has a nut butter (almond or mild hazelnut) character that is perhaps also contributing to the silky smooth mouth feel. Balanced, complex composition in which the acidity, bitterness, and astringency are complementing all the other notes. About Philippine Cacao, Supporting this Cacao Line and Where to Buy The Puentespina’s venture into cacao growing started in 2003 when founders, Roberto and Charita Puentespina, leased a cacao farm in Malagos, Baguio District, Davao City. A farmer at heart, Charita Puentespina rehabilitated the trees and soon after harvested the cacao pods. She now operates a 24-hectare cacao farm in Malagos and employs around 80 in-house farmers both in Malagos and on cacao farms outside of the Malagos area. (These are farmers whose passion is farming but unfortunately do not have their own lands to till). The Puentespinas also built a training facility on the farm to teach farmers good cacao growing practices. They provide farm inputs & run an Extension Service to those who need further assistance. Support and Donate Buy Filipino chocolate made from Heirloom designated farms! Locations to Purchase Specifically ask for chocolate made with Filipino HCP Heirloom Cacao #16! • Malagos Chocolate Support farmers and cooperatives like these and become a Bursary Sponsor.