My family and I have a yearly tradition of planning a summer trip to a new destination. This year (2023), we decided to explore Peru and its Inca culture. As a big fan of chocolate and a certified taster, I was incredibly excited to try the cacaos and chocolate of Peru, particularly the brand Cacao Suyo that I had heard about before.
In this article, you will discover the eight  unique features of Cacao Suyo, its state-of-the-art factory, and the meticulous production process that goes into every piece of their chocolate.
Feature # 1
As chocolate makers aim to establish long-term relationships with cacao producers by understanding their culture, people, and conditions, we, as chocolate retailers and educators, strive to do the same with chocolate makers. We aim to meet the makers, expand our network, learn more about their craft, and build a lasting connection.
I had arranged to meet Samir, the owner of the chocolate factory, who is an economist by training. I contacted him before visiting Peru, and we agreed to meet at the factory. I had previously met him at the Northwest Chocolate Festival, where I had tasted their delicious chocolate bars, which we have selected to feature in our catalog. We also share a common friend in chocolate, the Franceschi team.
It was truly inspiring to learn that despite being completely unfamiliar with the art of chocolate-making and cacao cultivation, he managed to start from scratch and carve out a path for himself in this world.
Feature # 2
Samir learned about cacao from a Venezuelan cacao expert, Gladys Ramos. At the same time, the Peruvian government and the USA provided incentives to grow cacao to reduce coca (cocaine) production while promoting cacao, palm, and coffee cultivation. His initial interest in cacao, the expertise of Gladys, and the incentive to grow cacao in Peru prompted him to start making chocolate.
Feature # 3
He learned that crafting high-quality chocolate requires carefully selecting cacao beans with a fine flavor profile, followed by meticulous fermentation and drying. Specific techniques such as roasting, grinding, and conching are then used to achieve the desired texture and flavor. He sees this process as "simple," if you follow this methodology, the result is a distinct and unforgettable flavor that highlights the unique characteristics of the fine-flavor cacao bean.
Feature # 4
In Cacao Suyo, Samir's knowledge of chocolate making grew over time, and he utilized a distinct drying process called "pre-secado." This process involves a slow, shaded drying method that eliminates unwanted aromas and flavors from the cacao pores even after fermentation. Samir believes this process sets his chocolate apart from the rest.
Feature # 5
This company is passionate about sustainability and social responsibility. They believe cacao and chocolate-making is good but could be a better business, encouraging anyone who wants to venture into chocolate-making to prioritize these principles. Samir's brand, Cacao Suyo, follows these principles and has become a leading player in the Peruvian and World chocolate market.
Feature # 6
To create their chocolates, Cacao Suyo uses a variety of cacao beans from different regions of Peru. They use Cacao Piura, a white cacao from the north coast of Peru, Amazonas "Lakuna" (meaning "the cradle"), which represents the birthplace of cacao in the central region of Peru, and cacao from Quiyabamba, a productive area in the south part of Peru known for honey, coffee, and cacao production. These unique varieties give Cacao Suyo's chocolates a distinct flavor unlike any other.
Feature # 7
Cacao Suyo was the first company in Peru to sell a chocolate bar for $20 soles (roughly US $5), a price unheard of when they launched. They do not age or mature their chocolate, preferring to produce "fresh" chocolate.
Also, they do not make special chocolate for competitions; their fresh chocolate produced daily is the one sent (directly from the production line) to the International Chocolate Awards, which they have won many times. This commitment to quality has helped Cacao Suyo establish itself as a leader in the Peruvian and world bean-to-bar chocolate market.
Feature # 8
During the visit to the factory, we were impressed by the unique aroma and impressive cleanliness. Samir sat with us in the conference room while tasting some of their chocolates, giving us a sense of openness and collaboration. Samir also opened his factory to other chocolate makers so they could produce their craft. The latter helps Cacao Suyo's business become self-sustaining. He has recently leased space and has a joint venture with a US chocolate maker, doing the same, collaborating with craft chocolate people.
Samir is a member of the ICCO working group, where he listens to the views of the more prominent players in the world chocolate industry while advocating for change. His passion for the craft is evident in his work with the group, and there is hope that things will change for the better.
Indulging in Peru's finest chocolate was a truly remarkable experience that left me feeling inspired. If you have yet to try it, I highly recommend it! The exquisite taste and quality are unlike anything you've ever experienced. Take advantage of this opportunity to treat yourself to something extraordinary. Check it out HERE.
Samir's journey into chocolate making is a testament to the power of passion and hard work. Despite having no prior knowledge of chocolate making, he learned the craft and established himself as a leader in the Peruvian and global chocolate market with Cacao Suyo. His commitment to sustainability and social responsibility has helped him create a brand known for its quality and unique flavor. Samir's story inspires anyone who wants to follow their passion and make a difference in the world.