Happy International Chocolate Day!

September 13 is International Chocolate Day, and the perfect time to share some highlights and stories from our cocoa-growing communities.  

Blue Bandana Guatemala Bar 70%
Eric, Blue Bandana’s sole chocolate maker, has worked closely with the FundaLachua organization in northwestern Alta Verapaz, Guatemala over the past 2 years to support quality improvements and organic practices in the indigenous Q’eqchi’ Maya communities. Visits to the farms, as well as field training, enhanced producer skills and elevated the quality of the harvest.  The progress was significant enough that FundaLachua made its first export on June 25, 2013! A direct trade agreement exported 6MT of Lachua cacao to Blue Bandana Chocolate Maker in Vermont. It will be another rewarding part of the journey for Eric to roast these beans and hand deliver chocolate bars to the producers during his next trip in the spring of 2014.

Blue Bandana Madagascar Bar 70%  and Blue Bandana Madagascar Wild Pepper Bar 70%
Eric has sourced Madagascar beans looking for high quality post-harvest processing, unique flavor characteristics, and sustainable growing practices.  In this quest, Eric developed a friendship with a Madagascar cocoa supplier, Bertil Akesson, who produces some of the world’s highest quality, fine flavor cocoa using organic practices.

Through this friendship, Eric discovered Bertil is a source for the wild voatsiperifery peppercorns that grow on the northeastern coast of Madagascar. Only the young shoots at the very top produce fruits (“voa”), which are handpicked by villagers from the east coast of the island.  It seemed only natural to blend this Madagascar 70% dark chocolate with a wild pepper harvested on the very same island.  A 2013 Good Food Awards Finalist, the Madagascar Wild Pepper bar remains a favorite among those with an appetite for exploration.

Peruvian Dark Chocolate Bar  and  Cherries & Chocolate Bar
Our Peruvian organic dark chocolate bars are crafted from single-origin cocoa grown in the remote Apurimac Valley, a region now experiencing a cocoa-farming renaissance.   Collaboration and farm support has improved the cocoa tradition in this farming area, increasing yield and quality.  Direct buyer partnerships and price premiums keep small growers safe from market risk, allowing them to focus on what they do best — producing some of the most exquisite cocoa in the world.  This distinctive chocolate is tempting more and more LCC fans to try it every day – we’re excited to see these newly launched bars already achieve ‘best-seller status’!

Happy International Chocolate Day everyone! We hope you take the time to celebrate with some delicious chocolate from around the world.