Peru Celebrates Chocolate
July 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
In recent years Ecuador and Peru have become upcoming stars in the chocolate world after the discovery Pure National Cocoa trees that were thought to have been extinct in the early 20th century. Since it’s Friday why not start the weekend with a Chocolate Ginger Martini in a glass rimmed with Peruian or Ecuadorian Chocolate.
A replica of Peru’s recently-unveiled “Christ of the Pacific” statue made with 135 kilograms of chocolate welcomed visitors at the second edition of the country’s Cacao and Chocolate Salon that kicked off on Thursday (July 7).
Hundreds of chocolate lovers met in Lima to taste candies, truffles and other mouth-watering treats made by world-renowned chefs from several countries.
The event gathered some of the United States and Europe’s finest chocolate companies as well as Peruvian cacao producers to promote the national industry that has been growing and winning respect in past years.
French chocolatier Stephane Bonnat, who runs the traditional Bonnat Chocolate, said that Peru’s cacao was refined and aromatic.
“The characteristics of the Peruvian cacao are clearly oriented at what we call the fine cacao. It is a refined and aromatic cacao that has a high quality, a percentage of cacao that is very important. However, it is a bit annoying for chocolate makers — if I can dare to say this –, who have to purchase it for a much higher price than the ones from African areas,” he said.
Visitors who enter chocolate heaven will be able to see a wide variety of Peruvian cacao beans on display, watch a chocolate sculpture contest, attend classes from chocolatiers, and satisfy their sweet-tooth at tasting sessions.
Business meetings, educational exhibitions, and a national contest of cacao are also going to be held in the event that runs until Sunday (July 10).
President of the Peruvian Association of Cacao Producers (Appcacao), Rolando Herrera, said visitors will learn how chocolate is made.
“This is the cacao pod that originates the cacao beans that go through a fermentation stage. After being processed, these beans come out as chocolates for consumption,” he said.
The Cacao and Chocolate Salon was first held in 2010, following a wide recognition of Peruvian cacao in the 2009 Salon du Chocolat in Paris.
Pastry Chef Astrid Gutsche said that Peru was privileged to have several types of cacao beans on its crops.
“We are very lucky to have a native genetic material that has long been lost in many other countries,” she said.
Recently, one of the most highly valued varieties of cacao ever, the Pure Nacional, was re-discovered deep in the Peruvian jungle, after scientists thought it had became extinct in Ecuador in the early 20th century.
Peru’s developing cacao industry has reduced the number of farmers involved in the production of coca plants. Cacao production in the Andean country reached 32,000 tons in 2009 and 20 percent of the world’s fine cacao beans come from its crops.