Introducing our newest cacao variety from Awajún, Peru!
I’m so excited to be able to share these new cacao beans from Peru with you. I was able to travel to South America for 3 months (way back in 2005 and WAY before I ever knew I was going to start a chocolate company) and Peru was one of my most treasured places that I visited.
The Awajún Tribe
Awajún cacao beans start their journey inside the Amazon jungle, in the ‘Amazonas’ region of northern Peru. The cacao is harvested by and gets its name from farmers traditional to the Amazonas area in the Awajún and Huambisa tribes (also can be written as: Huampisa, Wuampis, and Wuampisa).
In the past, these tribes have operated in a traditional sense. The men of the tribe provide for their families through hunting and fishing by selling their catch to create income. The women are responsible for balancing the role of caregiver for children with farming for grown goods. However, this split is slowly changing, and the Awajún cacao bean has played a part in this shift.
In contrast to some of the other top producing cacao locations in the world, the Amazonas area of Peru was never commercialized for cacao. However, the past few years have brought attention to this fruity and floral variety, and the global discovery of the Awajún bean has led to its growth in popularity.
Now, various governmental projects are investing in programs and courses to increase the community’s knowledge surrounding cacao and the farming, fermenting, and drying process. The women in this community, particularly, have benefitted from this empowering form of education and are quickly becoming the ambassadors and leaders in this area for all things ‘cacao’. This empowerment has led to a shift in the traditionally set familial roles, as the women are not only bringing in income for their household but also are teaching the men how to farm these valuable beans, too.
The cacao co-operative in this area is now largely run and managed by the women in the community, and is supported by the work that these women do to provide for their families. Quality of life is changing too – cacao farming in this area has allowed these communities to improve the infrastructure in their schools, hospitals, and health aid centres, and education has improved for children.
Photo Credit: Amazon Specialties
Photo Credit: Amazon Specialties
The Awajún bean itself is a wonderful addition to the Living Lotus chocolate family. This fruity and floral cacao is made up of mostly native and criollo varieties, and has a flavour profile that lends itself to the sweetness of red fruits and prunes.
The fermentation of this cacao is done in sweet wooden boxes made from a local wood variety called Tornillo wood. “Tornillo” means ‘screw’ in Spanish. The fermenting box orientation is normally in an escalator system instead of linear level rows, and fermentation is done for six days. Beans are rotated every day after the first two days, and by the end the beans are ready to be dried and shipped to bean to bar chocolate makers like us!
Our Awajún Collection
We’ve used these beautiful cacao beans from Awajún to create two chocolate bars in our collection:
Our 70% Awajún Dark Chocolate bar features lightly roasted cacao beans combined with certified organic cacao butter & coconut sugar to create a smooth and rich bar that goes perfectly with a glass of red wine.
Our 50% Awajún Oat Milk Chocolate bar uses the same lightly roasted Awajún cacao beans and certified organic cacao butter & coconut sugar, but is combined with certified gluten-free oats to create a creamy sweet treat that even the most discernible milk chocolate lovers will enjoy. This bar is the closest one we make to a “traditional” milk chocolate.
Give our new collection a try!