The Chocolate Dream is a project set up by Casa Luker and the Luker Foundation in Colombia to allow chocolate producers from around the world to own a part of a plantation on which to grow their own cocoa and to directly support the communities in the surrounding area. We spent some time with the Casa Luker team in Colombia to find out more about the how and why and here’s what we learned.
Hey guys, why would you do something like this?
Hey straight back at you! That’s a good question to kick things off. The world of cocoa can be a murky place with all sorts of unfair practices. When we started working with cocoa we promised ourselves that we would go above and beyond to make sure our supply chain would always be fair and equitable for everyone along it. There are certain accreditations which attempt to clarify this murkiness, but they can sadly often prevent farmers for being able to participate in trade given the costs associated with certifications. So, we want to do our own responsible sourcing work and this includes knowing the whole chain of supply from the insanely hard-working people collecting cocoa beans, to the expert roasters, to the international shipping companies to the wizards who put our final product together in the UK. Having our own plantation will allow us to keep a transparent supply chain, alongside helping the local community with its development.
OK, sounds good, tell me more about the cocoa…is it good stuff?
Course it’s good stuff, it’s going to blow your face off. We only use the best beans out there and in this case it’s the bloody delicious Trinitario Bean! The Trinitario bean is a bit of a clever hybrid of two super beans. We want the best tasting bean but we also want one that’s robust enough to produce an amazing yield in the environment it’s growing. That way the farmers can produce loads and get the best money for their premium beans. So Casa Luker have taken the Criollo bean (the best tasting) and the Forrestero (the hardiest) and performed a bit of magic. This genius bean has been developed in the Granja Luker research facility (one of only 2 in the world!).
The beans aren’t the only things that change the flavour. The fermenting and roasting process do too. If you want to learn more click here.
Colombia’s a big place, where’s this plantation going to be?
We’d have 5 hectares of delicious cocoa growing land North of Colombia in an area called Necoclí. This area is rich in Colombian culture and was once home to an array of different tribes. It’s recent history, however is not so romantic; in the past 20 years its prime positioning near the border of Panama meant it became over run by drug trafficking. Casa Luker and the Luker Foundation have been working tirelessly to change the fate of this amazing place and rejuvenate the land and the lives in the area (find more out here).
This is all sounding superdelicious. How does this help the local community?