From the Dominican Republic, Zorzal Cacao supplies the best craft chocolate makers from around the world with ethical, sustainable and flavorful cocoa beans with a unique nutty and fruity tasting profile.
The company plants, grows and harvests fine cocoa in the 1,030 acres on the Zorzal Estate and bird sanctuary, and also buys cacao from 16 neighboring farms who share the same vision for quality and conservation (most of them are USDA organic certified). Back in 2012, Chuck Kerchner and his co-founders bought a relatively undeveloped 412-hectare (1000-acre) piece of land in the mountains of the Duarte Province. They divided it into Reserva Zorzal (the bird sanctuary) and Zorzal Estate (the farm) to protect a critical habitat and simultaneously grow high-quality cacao. The team at Zorzal not only focuses on good genetics, but also on a scientific and precise approach to the post-harvesting stages:
“We provide the craft chocolate market with cacao varietals selected for their nuanced flavors and intense aromas, carefully tending to the development of these flavors through natural fermentation and drying cycles.”
After ripe beans are harvested, wet beans are transported to the Zorzal fermentorium located in Los Arroyos, approximately 45 minutes from Reserva Zorzal down the watershed. Beans are placed into wooden boxes to begin the fermentation process. Fresh cacao beans are naturally bitter and astringent and do not develop the full range of flavor and aroma precursors unless properly fermented and dried first.
Flavors also develop during the drying process, which can be affected by the bean size. Longer drying periods increases volatilization of acetic acid and induces a deeper chocolate base flavor.”
Renowned bean-to-bar makers like Raaka Chocolate from New York, Manoa Chocolate in Hawaii and Zotter Schokolade in Austria have been long-time fans of this origin and use these special cocoa beans for their pure dark chocolates and delicious inclusions.
If you are a craft chocolate lover, this is a cocoa origin you don’t want to miss!