CHOC Chick sources all cacao ingredients directly from cooperatives in Ecuador. We work with a Rainforest Alliance certified company, Cofina in Ecuador that organises the collection and production of the single origin cacao we source. We are extremely proud of the direct link and the traceability of our cacao and each cocoa farmer is paid fairly once they deposit their yield at the cacao collection centres across Ecuador.
During her trip to Ecuador in August 2016, CHOC Chick Founder Galia Orme met with many of the producers and farmers and was impressed by their dedication, knowledge and love of sustainable farming. She was taken to visit the cacao collection centres and meet the farmer by Carlos Zambrano, the Commercial Director of Cofina. His grandfather, also named Carlos came from a cocoa growing family in Manabi and set up the company which is now also run by his son Julio, Carlos’s father.
The visit to Ecuador was emotional, educational and inspiring for Galia and here she is with Eduardo Molina Bajania, who runs the main cacao collection centre in the province of Los Rios in Ecuador. He is an expert at fermentation and drying of the cocoa bean and proudly explained their meticulous process. The cocoa crops are brought in by each farmer on a daily basis, weighed, classified, fermented and dried.
During her visit, she also met with Dr Maximo Coello and his son Max. Dr. Coello inherited the cocoa plantation from his father and having worked as a local GP came back to the plantation when he retired, to continue the family work in cacao. His son Max will be following his footsteps and having grown up in the cocoa plantations, he could tell the difference between the different varieties and quality and loved the CHOC Chicos kit we gave him.
Galia had some incredible adventures in Ecuador, including a visit to a fabulous Hacienda where she learned how to chop open the cacao pod with a machete (she didn’t lose any fingers in the process!), made traditional drinking cacao using the dried cocoa beans and even rode through the plantations like the Argentinean Goucha she was born to be!