Chocolate, Pure & SimpleEthical, Healthy SweetsWhat:The couple behind this South American boutique chocolate house has brought chocolate back to basics, and added flavors from the tropics.
Chocolate, roses and a beautiful raw jungle—this is what the rural parts of Ecuador hold. The brainchild of natives Santiago Peralta and Carla Barboto, the brand name Pacari translates to nature in the local language of Quechua, the first language for some rural folk, before even Spanish. Created from local cacao beans, harvested from the fruit (pictured above), all ingredients Pacari uses are 100% organic. The farms providing its ingredients are all certified organic according to the United States USDA standards and according to European Union standards. Furthermore, the products, which are Kosher Parve, since they are dairy-free, employ cane sugar as a sweetener and pay fair wages directly producers, who pass the wages on to their farm hands. Some produces have already secured Fair Trade certification from the Fairtrade Labeling Organization.
There are plenty of organic dark chocolate brands on the market, but this one offers a variety of options that are just sweet enough to satisfy a craving, but just bitter enough to prevent overeating. The Raw Chocolate comes in 70% and 100% pure cacao. The raw chocolates are just sweet enough, but also have savory notes that enable pairing with cheese and wine or port. For different variations with fruit notes, try the regional bars, named for different regions of the South American nation. Esmeraldas is 60% cacao with honey and banana notes; Manabi is 65% cacao with hints of nut and citrus; and Los Rios is a darker 72% cacao with elements of fruit blossom, coffee and the fruit guanabana. Still, the products that caught our attention were the “specialty items,” which include a variety of chocolate covered items, such as espresso beans, golden berries, cacao nibs for the true cacao fan, and dried bananas. But, we suspect the chocolate covered guava will be the big seller, with the combination of dark chocolate and the sweet pink fruit offering the perfect balance. Place them in a bowl during the nightcap hour after a dinner party and keep everyone guessing.
The company contributes to local agricultural schools through its parent company, which educate locals and help bring more computers to the locals. To date, the schools work with about 1,000 students nad four more schools will be added to the program.