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Arriba 39% cocoa
Arriba means “higher” and refers to the North-West region of Ecuador. There a necklace of lush green and tropically warm valleys stretches from the Pacific to the Andes. This is one of the most remarkable and most bio-diverse territories in the world. Precisely this area, between the Cordillera Costanera (coastal hills) and the Andean Cordillera Occidental, is renowned for its small, historic cocoa plantations. Our search for some of the world’s most remarkable cocoa takes us further West, to the provinces of Cotopaxi and Los Rios. Especially around the ancient town of Quevedo we find what we are looking for: the rarefied, centuries-old Nacional.
Mild, buttery, milk chocolate smelling slightly of vanilla sticks, and even with fleeting impressions of white chocolate. In terms of taste it is tremendously creamy, then quite velvety in texture, with fairly rich impressions of among other things yoghurt, nougat, vanilla and cream. Fine vanilla aftertaste with accents of almonds and hazelnuts.
History and origin of Arriba cocoa
The typical Arriba flavour found in the original Cacao Nacional grown in North Ecuador is one of a kind. This ancient, aromatic Forastero type is becoming very rare. In fact, it can only be found on small household farms. A more robust and productive Trinitario variety has been gradually replacing it over the course of the past century. Still, the Nacional type in particular is so much appreciated and sought after since it carries the renowned Arriba flavour. Many cocoa growing countries have even tried to smuggle Arriba plants in to reproduce the typical flavour locally, but without success. The unique climate and soil conditions in the northern part of Ecuador seem to have a magical effect on the cocoa grown there.