REGION AND COUNTRY
Cacahoatán (“Place of Cacao” in the ancient Toltec language), Chiapas State, Mexico
The history of cacao in the Southeast of Mexico dates to pre-colonial times. Cacao was not only an integral part of the culinary and religious traditions of the region, but it was also used as currency. Chiapas was the center of cacao commerce in Mesoamerica when the Spaniards reached the area in 1522. The first cacao brought to Europe to the Spanish court came from Chiapas. Finca La Rioja was established in the beginning of the 1900’s by the Andalucian immigrant Moisés Mugüerza Gutiérrez who planted cacao along with coffee and other crops. Don Moisés collected criollo cacao varieties from the South of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala which he further developed in his nursery. With the introduction of agrarian land reform policies under the government of Álvaro Obregón after the Mexican Revolution, a great portion of the plantation and the nurseries of don Moisés were expropriated. Almost 100 years later, the descendants of don Moisés keep their cacao heritage alive.
October – March (main harvest) June – September (mid crop)
Great grandson José María Pascacio is the current owner of Finca La Rioja and recently introduced don Carmelo trees to his plantation. The Carmelo hybrid was developed by the owner of Finca La Joya in Tabasco and is known for its predominantly light colour and distinctive flavours of fruit and sweet tobacco. Genetic testing has shown that don Carmelo cacao is an interesting combination of Criollo and Forastero genetics. The current harvest of the Finca La Rioja is a mixture of the plantation’s old genetics and the Carmelo trees introduced to the plantation.
POST HARVESTING PROCESS
The cocoa beans are harvested and fermented in wooden boxes at the Finca during a period of 5 days, with a different number of turns per batch to influence the flavour development.
Creamy notes with a strong nutty flavour.