For #WorldChocolateDay we're celebrating the folks who make our chocolate possible: cacao producers. This is Baleriamo B'ordora Muñoz, proud cacao, citrus, coffee, and banana farmer in the Junín Valley of Peru, and a real charmer. We were privileged to meet Baleriamo two weeks ago during our visit with CAC Pangoa, who purchases his cacao, ferments it, dries it, and exports it to folks in the chocolate industry like us. Baleriamo's farm has been around since the 1970s when it was primarily a coffee plantation; the cacao was grown mostly for worker consumption. Recently, the climate has made growing coffee difficult for the family, so they've switched their focus to fine cacao. Baleriamo has several cacaos nativos trees: cacao trees native to the region, and known for their delicious fruity flavor. We were humbled to give Baleriamo our Vanilla Rooibos bar, made with some of the cacao that began on his land. Lucky for us, he liked it! It's surreal to taste our bars on origin soil - a real, big picture, warm, fuzzy, we-are-alive kind of feeling.
More on Baleriamo, his farm, CAC Pangoa, and our trip to Peru coming later this year!