Hello and good day!
One of the most common questions we've received over the years is why we send cacao all the way to Switzerland from Peru to have chocolate made.
We are asked why we don't make chocolate in the United States, or alternatively, why we don't have the chocolate made in Peru.
One of the most famous people in Peru is a gentleman named Gaston Acurio. He is a famous chef with a popular TV show and many iconic restaurants. It says something about Peruvian culture that the most famous person in the country is a chef. Peru is passionate about food.
Gaston has Peruvian restaurants all over the world and we've been fortunate enough to have our chocolate featured in several of them over the years. Gaston's wife, Astrid, is a prestigious pastry chef in her own right, and she has visited us in campo many times.
A few years back, Gaston participated in a live cooking exhibition in Los Angeles. There was a gathering of acclaimed chefs from around the world there and each was cooking a special menu, live for the attendees. We got a message from Gaston's team a few days before the event asking if we could send chocolate.
We of course complied with the request.
During the presentation, Gaston said something that has stuck with me. He was presenting our chocolate and telling the story and he said that this chocolate was the best of both worlds. The ingredients are Peruvian, from some of the best soil in the world and grown by skilled and dedicated farmers.
But the technique and manufacturing were Swiss and the Swiss are known for making great chocolate. He pointed out that this was a great example of the right way to do things.
You get the best of all worlds.
Best ingredients and best manufacturing. And when it is done this way, it elevates the prestige of Peruvian ingredients.He pointed out that he himself is a classically trained chef who studied in France, but his passion is to make Peruvian cuisine. Classic training and technique, but Peruvian recipes and ingredients.
If you were to have the chocolate made in Peru, but the Peruvian chocolate maker doesn't do as good a job, because they don't have the experience or capital or technology, the ingredient doesn't shine as much as it otherwise would.
This doesn't elevate the reputation of Peruvian products. From the very beginning of our project, we've had two goals.Make the best chocolate possible and pay cacao farmers the highest prices possible for their cacao.
Both of these issues are solved simultaneously by going with the best chocolate maker we can possibly find. And that is what we feel we've done by partnering with Max Felchlin AG, the company who manufactures our chocolate.
Additionally, we've found that the real gap in the process is post harvest processing, not making chocolate or growing cacao.The cacao farmers we work with are vastly better farmers than we could ever hope to be.
And there are good, skilled farmers all over the world.
We could never catch up to Felchlin in chocolate making expertise. In addition to Felchlin, there are dozens of other very good chocolate making companies.
But there was, and still is, a major gap in doing quality post harvest processing, and that is the gap that we fill. That, and financing the supply chain, but that is a whole separate topic.
Doing post harvest processing correctly is already a hard enough challenge. Before we got into e-commerce and retailing, more than 70% of our business was outside of the United States.
At one point, we were selling chocolate and cacao in 40 countries, most of them in Europe and Asia. That was another big reason why we originally went with Felchlin.
Nowadays, most of our business is in the United States, so teaming up with an American manufacturer would make our supply chain much easier.
But we'd be doing a disservice to our customers.
We wouldn't be making the best product we know how to make. And that would lop off half of our goal. Also, we don't do meticulous post harvest processing, just to cut corners when it comes to having the chocolate made.
It all goes together.
The end result is that the chocolate you buy from us has traveled more than 10,000 miles, from Peru, to Switzerland, and back to the United States.
And you can have it delivered to your house by clicking a few buttons.Or you can pick it up from our shops while you are out running errands.
That is what makes a free economy such a thing of beauty.
You can get products that people have poured their lives into, and that travel around the world, very easily.What we do would not be possible without free economies all along the line. And with free economies, you can get the best of all worlds for a fair price.
Anyhow, I am running out of steam a bit now.
Thank you so much for your time.
I hope at you have a truly blessed day!