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White cacao, almost like gold
Unique taste and fragance melting the World.

By Nelson Peñaherrera. Photos by Marco Paulini.  Cambia a español,




CHULUCANAS, Peru – If your addiction is chocolate, you could say it’s almost a divine blessing to live in a region where one of the rarest, best paid variety in the world is produced. Is this the paradise, maybe?

In Piura State, Peruvian Northern, less than a half-an-hour from Chulucanas (pronounce “Choolookanas”) City (in normal conditions), Palo Blanco village is located. Its most recent achievement was
protecting its dry forest. However, it had been nationally highlighted some years ago because it has the best white cacao across Peru.

Juan Rivera, 50, is an autodidact farmer who planned to study at San Marcos Major National University in Lima City, but some personal decisions faced him to turn in a family guy and to dismiss that way. He had to do something to live, so when he came back his town to worked cropping the land.


All the power he was gathering for university life he didn’t have was downloaded to investigate everything around him, even metaphysics, so he understood that white cacao cobs growing up at slopes around the town had something special – a possible endemism.





Vicús Evidence
There are two theories explaining Chulucanas’ white cacao: a Venezuelan strain what came through the Andes to Tabaconas, Cajamarca State, in the limit with Huancabamba Valley, Piura State, to begin a slow path from there to the West; the other one suggests an origin in Amazonas state valleys, ever going to the West until reaching Piura state (that could give a new support to Archaeologist Daniel Dávila’s theory of jibaro corridor).

Rivera trends the second explanation based on a pressumibly Vicús piece of pottery which a person holding a white cacao cob can be seen. If this civilization extinguished, in the best scenario, in 500 A.D. and it just ocuppied Piura state eastern portion, this means the crop could be used since 500 B.C., considered one of most ancient milestones in the formation of this people (what might consolidate between 100 B.C. and 400 A.D, more than half a millenium from Inca Nation and more than a millenium from Spanish arriving in Piura).


FACTORTIERRA.NET could not confirm independently the existence of that piece of pottery, neither its official date.





Futures
If we add a dry weather to this supposed endemism, as Rivera says, it explains why taste and fragance of Chulucanas white cacao is peculiar and appreciated by chocolate industry in United states, europe and New Zealand inclusive.

Specialist match on white cacao, constantly mentioned as creole cacao, is superior than Venezuelan one and dispute quality to Ecuadorian one, while Colombian one is lower-level despite every farmer can own more than 70 hectares against Peruvian’s ½ hectare.


Currently, Piura farmers are exporting less than 10 annual tons because of NorAndino Cooperative and they expect raising 12 tons this year. Eventually, they are surveying to build a processing plant in Piura City Industrial Zone for stopping commodity exportation and begin to sell processed products beyond chocolate paste, like cacao liquor, nationwide and worldwide as well.


Even when we can not taste some white chocolate on this assignment, what we are clear is joint cacao farmers are taking pretty seriously their contribution to the market and they are stepping strategically as businessmakers. That is why Peruvian cacao farmers awarded with The Golden Cacao to Juan Rivera some years ago.


Projections are ambitious, we see.


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