The Good Food Awards honors craft foods that are not only exceptionally flavorful, but which also meet strict sustainability criteria. We’re happy to share that this year’s finalists were just announced and our Ucayali bar is on the list! This is the sixth year in a row we’ve been honored as a Good Food Finalist.
This bar is one of our Signature Line origins, made from cacao we source directly from Ucayali River Cacao in Pucallpa, Peru. Farmers from up and down the Ucayali river bring the wet cacao beans, often by boat, to URC’s centrally located, custom built fermentation and drying facility. The beans are then fermented and dried using carefully crafted protocols, which include constant monitoring of critical data points – especially temperature. The fermentation takes place in a covered facility, in covered wooden boxes. The drying is done on raised platforms, in a covered area.
To maintain flavor consistency and allow better fermentation, UCR groups the beans they receive based 0n region, then assigns a color to each region. The beans we used to craft this bar are tagged “green,” and consist of several different varietals, primarily ICS-1, 6, 39, 60 & 95; TSH-565 and IMC-67.
We’ve visited Ucayali River cacao, visited and met with several farmers from who they source, and seen their fermentation and drying facilities firsthand. COVID hit this region particularly hard, and the already significant challenges surrounding aggregating fine flavor cacao from hundreds of farmers over a wide geographic area has only gotten harder. The current political unrest has added to the challenges, and as of right now it’s not clear if UCR will be able to continue operations. Last year we pre-paid for our cacao in order to help make the harvest happen, but this year even that may not be enough. As with all our signature line origins we continue to stay in touch with them and will do our best to help if at all possible.
Tom and Monica on the Ucayali river.