This was Shawn’s fourteenth visit with Vitaliano; we’ve been buying outstanding Arriba Nacional cocoa beans to make our Ecuador chocolate bars from his small family farm since 2006!!
The morning was spent walking the farm together to examine the beautiful green-and-yellow Arriba Nacional cocoa pods, then visiting the fermentation boxes and drying pads where Vitaliano checked on the progress of the beans.
After a lunch of ceviche made by Vitaliano’s wife, Norma, Shawn did what we do on every origin trip: reviewed the financial statements explaining sales from the previous year and handed over the profit-share cash. This was followed by a full tasting of every Askinosie Chocolate bar made with Vitaliano’s family’s beans, including our recent Gold award-winning Coconut Milk Chocolate Bar. This is direct trade, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s customary for us to commemorate awards we win for our chocolate bars by celebrating with our farmer partners when we visit. After all, we couldn’t do it without them!!
Their excellent cocoa beans are integral to the success of our chocolate bars because great flavor begins with great beans. Winning these awards and sharing the wins with our farmers is proof for us that direct trade works, those better relationships equal better products. Our successes are their successes too, and we’re proud of these partnerships!