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Tukakao: Artisanal Gourmet Chocolate

Andreas Cordero*

By Inter-American Foundation on Comment

The “fino de aroma” cacao produced by the Association of Production of Cacao and Derived Aromas of the South (Asopromas) in the province of Zamora, Chinchipe, Ecuador is best appreciated by sampling its delicious Tukakao brand of chocolate. During the knowledge exchange between Coopecacao Afro of Costa Rica and Asopromas, participants learned about the best formulas to produce gourmet artisanal chocolate.

According to the process followed by Asopromas, after 50 hours in the conche (a type of mixer), the chocolate is tempered. Tempering chocolate refers to lowering its temperature in order to guarantee its texture for a longer period of time. It is then molded and refrigerated for 20 minutes.

“This part of the process requires both patience and speed because with the climatic conditions here, lowering the temperature of the chocolate can be difficult,” explained associate Yorleny Brenes. This process also offers the opportunity to add other flavors such as coffee, sea salt, or cacao nibs. The chocolate bars are then wrapped in kitchen towels to remove the humidity. Later the bars get packaged and sold for $2.50 each by businesses throughout the region of Zamora, Chinchipe.

The final products are chocolate bars with 70% or 55% cacao — a high percentage not only of cacao, but also happiness and good taste!


Chocolates ready for  the market at the ASOPROMAS processing plant.   

GodsFoodFor several weeks, we are publishing a series of articles about cacao entitled “Food of the Gods” about how the IAF’s community partners are adopting organic production, learning to commercialize their cacao products, improving their livelihoods, and sharing their knowledge. The series title draws from the Latin term for cacao, Theobroma, which means "food of the gods" and speaks to how cacao’s legendary derivative – chocolate – is beloved across the globe.


* Andreas Cordero,  is a Journalist and Photographer member of Cooperativa de Productores de Cacao y Servicios Múltiples del Caribe Sur R.L. - Coopecacao Afro.

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