Letter to Visitors
As the world’s consumption of chocolate increases steadily, it stimulates so-called “current” cocoa production, which prefers volume from aromatic qualities.
The existing orchards, spread over 6,000 hectares in about 50 countries of the inter-tropical zone, are aged, suffering from diseases, located in zones threatened by the effects of the expected global climate warming. These low-yielding trees are torn out and replaced by modern varieties of cocoa which are more resistant and highly productive, but in which the aromatic quality is not the priority.
The current cocoa orchard is becoming standardized, the cocoa biodiversity is becoming scarce. As a result, the chocolate offer is also standardized, the aromatic panel is reduced.
However, the industrial and artisanal chocolate industry wants to diversify.
The commercial arguments put forward have evolved over time: percentage of cocoa, origins, … it’s only very recently (2018) that the notion of variety is approached. An ambition unsatisfied by an offer traceability non-existent in botanical terms, origin or even ethics.
Alerted by the disappearance of ancestral varieties of cocoa, the project developed by The Cacaotal aims to safeguard a plant heritage by reactivating the cultivation of botanical varieties of cocoa, maintain a “living” biodiversity around the cocoas and transform the beans produced into exceptional chocolates.
Save the Earth, it’s the only planet with chocolate !
Creation of Artal Forest Group
Véronique et Frédéric Paré and their children joined Costa Rica and created their first Teak plantation associated with friends of them. The idea grows up and 15 years later, the Artal Forest Group manages 1,600 hectares of Teak plantations and forests spred on 15 sites in Costa Rica for more than 200 owners.
A decisive encounter
It is a Coati gnawing a cocoa pod on a path to the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica where we were walking with family who made us discover this tree. Already engaged in the teak plantations, we decided to embark on that of cocoa but with the objective of cultivating only ancient varieties that are now almost extinct.
Selection of first varieties
Selection of several dozen varieties of fine an rare cocoa in partnership with CATIE (Costa Rica) and CIRAD of Montpellier.
Creation of clonal gardens
Going on reconnaissance to identify wild varieties in Nicaragua.
Creation of clonal gardens and nurseries necessary for the multiplication of selected plants. Several clonal gardens are currently operated in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Creation of the first plantation
In Costa Rica, creation of the plantation “MAYALTA”.
A former grazing zone on which we created 26 hectares of cocoa and 10 hectares of protected forest.
228 hectares of cocoa plantations exist
In Nicaragua, creation of the plantations “OLMECATLAN” (2014) and “INAIS” (2017).
Two former grazing zones we transform in 43 hectares of cocoa and 38 hectares of protected forest with endemic species.
In Costa Rica, creation of the plantation “JUMBA” (2014), “ALBA ALTA” (2014), “NAYAX” (2015), “RIO BLANCO” (2017) and “ORBAYA (2019).
Former grazing zones on which we created 185 hectares of cocoa and 103 hectares of protected forest.