Brazilian Organic cocoa farm is owned by the Carvalho family. The Carvalhos bought their first cocoa farm in 1942, during World War II. The British companies who previously owned it were trying to hastily exit the country to help finance home war effort. During the ensuing years the family acquired additional surrounding farms in the Bahia region and became very successful cacao growers. However, the family fortune abruptly changed in 1989 with the arrival of Witches Broom disease (Vassoura de Bruxa). The disease is a fungus which travels by air and infects and kills the cacao tree leaves, until the tree no longer produces cacao. Within a year of the disease's arrival, production fell by 96% resulting in the bankruptcy of the family cacao business. In the 1990’s, as everyone was exiting the cacao business in Brazil, two of the Carvalho brothers, Arthur and Eduardo - great-grandsons of the founder - decided to fight for their farms and make it prosperous again. They have developed a revitalization plan which included modern methods to suppress disease in infected trees and prevent the spread, utilizing a mix of hybridization and grafting techniques. Since then the farm has made gradual and steady recovery from the devastating disease, reclaiming infected sections of the farm, section by section, for the past twenty years. The brothers have succeeded and - in 2007 - completed the reclamation of the farm. In addition to becoming USDA Organic and IBD (the Brazilian Organic certified body), the farm has also refined its pre and post harvesting processes which results in a very fine flavor and consistency of cacao.
Samuel Von Rutte was born in Switzerland and left his native country for Ecuador 25 years ago. He married a local Ecuadorian woman and lives with his family among the farmers of the area. Ana, Sam’s wife, works as a nurse in the local hospital and is an amazing cook. The couple lives now in an old house right on the cocoa farm where they grow the happiest cacao trees we have ever seen. The variety of their beans is Nacional and have been designated an "Heirloom" bean by Fine Chocolate Industry Association an award held by only eight other farms worldwide. K'UL team spent time on the farm, and Peter bought beans from Sam with a handshake. Beans have nutty but delicate aroma with notes of mild red fruits. Very mellow initial profile that persists throughout. Complex nutty and caramel / honey / malty notes dominate the flavor. This is backed by a smooth, mild, very low bitterness to the chocolate. Has some mild red fruit flavor notes - both ripe and under-ripe and a hint of lemon. Our Limited Edition chocolate is a single origin bar made from a 100% Sam's beans.
Finca Raiz in Ecuador belongs to Vincent Zeller. German by Origin, Vincent Zeller was grown up in Ecuador, married a local woman, and apart from his export business, owns a cacao farm, where he grows hybrid cacao. Vincent manages the farm together with his son. The state-of-the-art bean fermentation is managed by Vincent's daughter, Soizic Zeller. She was educated in Switzerland to ferment and handle grapes. She brought her knowledge back to Ecuador where it proves handy in terms of building the most modern temperature controlled fermentation facility. Soizic ferments the beans using some with local grasses, flowers and berries to allow the beans to develop floral and fruity flavors. For K'UL cacao she uses tangerine peels to add a subtle citrus accent.