We have such a connection to chocolate, often seen as a guilty pleasure, an indulgent moment or as a reward, but rarely do we stop to question how it has come to be a perfectly packaged moment for us to enjoy. Where do all the ingredients come from and what do they go through to become a chocolate bar?
At Loving Earth, it really matters to us where our chocolate comes from every step of the way. Our purpose is to make all our products in a way that honours the indigenous people that have cultivated them for thousands of years, the ecosystem in which they are grown, and make them with the highest density of nutrition available.
Ten years ago we started making chocolate using what we thought was raw cacao powder and raw cacao butter. As we got deeper into understanding cacao we realised that cacao powder and butter are not really raw, the flavour being what tipped us off.
Roasting is the great equaliser, simplifying the flavour and bringing out the strong chocolate taste. Conventional cacao is difficult to eat raw because of its bitterness, which is subdued by roasting. The aromatic varieties of cacao we work with are much more complex in flavour and fuller on the palate, the sophistication of which is simplified when roasted.
That is why we use raw cacao beans to create our chocolate, and not cacao powder and butter. The process of splitting the beans into butter and powder uses high temperatures, which alters the flavour of the bean.
This led us on the journey to produce really raw bean to bar chocolate. To do this we had to source pure heirloom aromatic cacao beans. We have been lucky enough to be sourcing our cacao from the Satipo region in Peru for 10 years. Last year we were able to import our first micro batch of 10 tonnes of beautiful raw heirloom Amazonico Criollo Cacao from Kemito Ene the Ashaninka cooperative from the Rio Ene region, four hours up river by canoe.
We have helped them with the organic and fair trade certification, ensuring that their Cacao is Certified Organic and fairly traded. Indeed, the proof is in the pudding – anyone who’s tried our raw Chocolate will have experienced the superior flavour, aroma and nutritional content, which these growers and their methods produce. By not roasting the beans we are able to really showcase the complex flavour profiles of the beans, where each mouthful is like a journey through the bio-diverse ecosystems where they are grown.
The current batch of cacao has beautiful coffee and fennel notes in it. There is a lot of coffee grown with the cacao in an ancient permaculture like system that is used in the understory of the forest that the Ashaninka people have been custodians of for generations. This means that we get access to an amazing completely unhybridized aromatic cacao that is truly unique. It also means that the Ashaninka people can conserve their traditional cultural practices in the face of encroaching modern society. And they have a viable source of income that helps preserve the forest helping to contribute to an ambitious project in the region to save 100 million trees.
Inspiring conscious living in all those we touch is a core part of why we exist as a company. Our mantra of “Healthy. Sustainable. Fair” helps us to realise our vision of being an uplifting presence in the world. Producing ethical, delicious chocolate from really raw cacao, is how we make that vision a reality.
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