01 THE AMAZON RAINFOREST IS CACAO ANARCHY
There, the search for varieties is an adventure; chance is a compass; and luck is a destination. Cacao plantations. Words now connected with recollection and imagery. The fragrance, feel, thermal sensation and flavour of a bitter essence that is transformed into a sweet smile after a metamorphic, almost alchemic journey. And above all that can be grasped by the external senses is the intangible magic of cacao, venerated since ancient times and even to the present by the indigenous communities that saw in it a gift that the gods left on their lands; one that had the power to invigorate their warriors like a magic potion brewed by Getafix.
02 THE CACAO PEOPLE
My brother Josep has always asserted that there are as many wines as there are people. And it is by travelling, becoming acquainted with producers, even interviewing them together with a psychologist, that he has been able form a connec- tion with those wines that surpasses intellectual knowledge, capturing their intan- gible essence, their intrapersonal and interpersonal substance. There is something behind a natural product, when it is lovingly tended and honoured by human hands, that transcends all understanding. Likewise, my contact with the cacao people – in the way that Josep speaks of his ‘wine people’ – has allowed me not only to open my perception to a new and rich spectrum of creative possibilities, but to a reconnection with the intangible dimension of what we eat.
03 FROM TREE TO BEAN
Cacao is richly expressed in the course of silent communication. Its slimy pulp produces ‘sounds’ like lychee, soursop and custard apple, even dairy. Its as- tringent, bitter and invigorating seeds range in colour from purple to white. And when fermented, they give off notes of almost every variety of fruit: cherry, pas- sion fruit, banana, of wild, brined and pickled fruit, and of fresh and candied fruit. Once dried, the emerging notes are of black tea, tobacco and wood, like a veil of mature complexity waiting to be revealed.
Cacao is richly expressed in the course of silent communication. Its slimy pulp produces ‘sounds’ like lychee, soursop and custard apple, even dairy.
03 FROM TREE TO LIFE
You have to be brave to enter into the jungle. Atzumisare, welcome. Entering into chaos to bring order to an expression of beauty. The leader of the Arhuaco community in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range of Colombia received us with these words:
Mamo Camilo (August 2018)
I once saw chocolate as a product, but the journey has helped me to understand that it is the result of the work of many hands and of many variables.
We thought we could make chocolate without visiting the cacao-growing areas. After having gone and seen it for ourselves, the possibilities offered by the way in which cacao is fermented and what its cultivation entails, I see that Casa Cacao makes sense. It did before, but now it makes all the sense in the world, because we are somehow closing the cycle, in the knowledge that what we make from our chocolates will be destined more directly to the communities of cacao growers and, at the same time, it will breathe new life into the field of flavours on which we will attempt to fully capitalise.