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We’ve been out of our cacao from Ecuador since last Fall due to problems at the origin, but we finally have cacao again, which means the bars are back. Our Ecuador bars are no longer considered “Balao” as the actual farm in the town of Balao has shut down. The company that used to operate that farm is still around, but now they buy cacao from other nearby farmers. As a way of maintaining quality and flavor, Vicente Norero, Camino Verde’s cacao manager, is still in charge of all the post-harvest fermentation and drying. So even though the cacao is coming from other farms, the flavor is almost identical to the old Balao as a result of similar fermentation and drying techniques.


 the change from Balao to Camino Verde:

The 2016 earthquake that devastated much of Ecuador jolted the country into turmoil. In order to fund the recovery of the country, the government was forced to raise sales tax, income tax and property tax on large estates. As Camino Verde’s farm in Balao was above a certain threshold, the property tax soared to financial prohibitive levels. So in all this, the Balao farm was sold, which meant Camino Verde had to come up with another way to source cacao. Camino Verde’s flavor have always been, in a large part, due to their unique fermentation and drying techniques. So Vicente was confident that they could produce a similar quality by sourcing cacao from smaller farms (that weren’t hit by the same tax) and using their same post-harvest techniques.

The chocolate we’ve been able to produce with the new Camino Verde beans is extremely similar to our old “Balao” flavor. It’s still rich, fudgy, chocolatey and faintly floral with a bit of a honey high note. If you loved our old Ecuador bars, we think you’ll love the new rendition!

We feel as chocolate makers that is it important to support the farmers we work with through these changes, be it from climate, politics or finances. We also want to be fully transparent with any changes to how or where we source our cacao and we are here to answer anymore questions you may have.