Maker of single-origin dark organic chocolate Pacari Chocolate of Ecuador was recognized as the world’s best maker of high quality dark chocolate after winning most of the gold awards for chocolate bars in the International Chocolate Awards in London, UK in October. It was the first competition of its kind ever held and the first time an Ecuadorian chocolate company has won so many awards. At the World Final of the International Chocolate Awards, Pacari Chocolate won six out of the 10 gold medals awarded in chocolate bars and nine out of the 25 medals awarded overall, the most of any chocolate maker.In the Chocolate Bars – Dark plain/origin bars award category, Pacari was the Overall Winner with GOLD for its Pacari Chocolate (Ecuador) – 70% Raw – Organic and Biodynamic, and SILVER for its: Pacari Chocolate (Ecuador) – 70% Piura-Quemazon. In the same category, Pacari won four GOLD Special Awards for its 70% Raw – Organic and Biodynamic chocolate, in Chocolate Maker, Growing Country Chocolate, Directly Traded Cacao, and for Organic.
The GOLD award – Best cacao source: Piura-Quemazon (Peru), was awarded to the farmer, cooperative or locality providing the best named source cacao. In Chocolate Bars – Flavoured dark chocolate, Pacari won GOLD: Pacari Chocolate (Ecuador) – 60% With Lemongrass and SILVER for Pacari Chocolate (Ecuador) – Raw 70% Chocolate Bar With Salt And Cacao Nibs – Organic and Biodynamic.The International Chocolate Awards were launched in 2012 by cacao and fine chocolate experts Martin Christy, and Kate Johns in the UK. It is a competition created to recognize the best fine quality chocolate from around the world. It included preliminary rounds in all continents including wine experts and tasters in other food areas, and semi-finals in Italy, the UK, the USA and Canada with the first year’s Grand Final held in the UK in October, coinciding with Chocolate Week. The awards were judged by independent Grand Jury members from Sweden, the UK, Italy, France and Germany drawn from the fine chocolate world, including New York award winning celebrity Latin-American Chef Maricel Presilla. Co-founder of Pacari Chocolate Santiago Peralta said that the chocolates received at the International Chocolate Awards were not only for their work as chocolatiers, but to Pacari’s complete supply chain.
“It starts with recognition to our cacao producers for the quality of their work to get an excellent bean,” he said. “It is an important milestone to show that a great quality chocolate can in fact be entirely produced in Latin America. The same as with the wine sector, today there are excellent wines produced in different parts of the world, not just in the European continent. It is important to keep an open mind attitude and to be inclusive.“Another important accomplishment with these awards is to prove that organic certified chocolate can not only be socially and environmentally responsible, but of great taste and a high quality gourmet food, said co-founder Carla Barboto. “ Ecuador has been exporting cacao beans for over 300 years. “Finally we are taking charge of our own future and how we want to be known at least in the food market: as innovative and committed entrepreneurs capable to achieve excellence developing exquisite chocolate made entirely in our land. This achievement is very important for the psyche of Ecuador and the Latin American chocolate industry. It is a way to improve the positive image of our people about ourselves,” said Mr. Peralta.
An important lesson from this project according to Mr. Peralta is that if we pay fair prices to the farmers, we do get great quality for their work and have the additional satisfaction of managing a sustainable business that is socially and environmentally responsible.
Pacari will launch new products at major shows Fancy Foods, BioFach and Expo West, such as natural chocolate powder with ginger, cinnamon and maca, great for hot chocolate recipes; and chocolate bars with cranberries, cherries, golden berries and figs.
Pacari Chocolate is the first organic chocolate with biodynamic (Demeter) certification in the world, made entirely at the source from tree to bar. Pacari is expected to be presented with its International Chocolate Awards during the Fancy Food Show in January in San Francisco, where it will also receive the 2012 Outstanding Chocolate Maker Award from the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA).