Foundry Chocolate - Soconusco, Chiapas, Mexico 70%
DARK 70% - expect a fruity tang with an underlying warm, silky nuttiness.
Hailing from the land of the Aztecs who revered cocoa - this chocolate is from Soconusco, Southern Mexico where there is a small but dedicated group of farmers rediscovering and rescuing the near-forgotten, heirloom varieties of cacao this chocolate is made from.
The result? A beautifully balanced chocolate that is simultaneously confident, mysterious and comforting. Delivers a contrast of fruity tang and warm, silky nuttiness.
Foundry Chocolate is hand-crafted in micro batches in New Zealand with just two ingredients - cocoa bean and a little sugar. So small are the batches each bar is hand numbered - which number will you get?
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Foundry import these beans into New Zealand after years of coordination between several NZ craft chocolate makers. It's believed these beans represented almost 1% of the total cacao exports from Mexico in 2019, and that this is also the first time cacao beans have been imported direct from Mexico into New Zealand.
This Chiapanecan origin comes from Soconusco, an important growing region since Aztec times. Soconusco is located in the southwest corner of the Chiapas region, bordering Guatemala and the Pacific Ocean.
The cacao is from a cooperative named Organización de Productores de Cacao Sostenible Rayén. Founded in 2016, the core Rayén “group” consists of 28 members owning 50 heactares of cacao trees.
With the help of Euro-American Cacao Company, they are devoted to the rescue of the heirloom varieties of local cacao under threat by the introduction of highly productive and pest-resistant “clones” as is the case in most cacao growing countries. They do so by researching the varieties already present in their lots (which can be over a hundred years old) and by propagating the best among them.
The cacao is grown as a polyculture: in the cacao orchards you can find other fruits such as mamey, lemon, coconuts, pineapples, mangoes; timber-yielding trees (shade trees of the cacaos) like ceibas and cedars and tropical flowers, among them hibiscus, ginger and heliconias.
Rayén's cacaos genetics could be described as a mixture of criollos and trinitarios (“trinitarios acriollados” as they call them), the beans when fresh are predominantly white and pink and the shape of the pods have the typical shape of Mexican heirloom varieties: corrugated skin and the typical "lizard" tail. There are dozens of different colors and pod shape combinations.
Credit Foundry Chocolate.