Terroir : GUATEMALA
XOCO, a unique plantation...
Despite being the birthplace of cocoa that the Mayans described as "a gift from the gods", Guatemala only accounts for around 0.4% of the world's production. Mainly small farmers in cooperatives or associations produce an average of 12,000 tons of fine Trinitario cocoa.
One of the small private business owners is Franck Homman (it would take more than a few lines to detail his journey) who decided to launch XOCO to help save farmers from poverty. So he set out by revolutionising production methods by focusing on monoculture. Chocolaterie de l’Opéra® exclusively uses XOCO products for its Guatemala origin chocolate.
The XOCO project goes back to cocoa's roots and respects the variety
The idea behind XOCO is to restore cocoa to its former glory by showcasing the variety. It uses the same approach as wine: separate varieties to process them better and bring out their flavour. XOCO uses the best varieties and each one has its own growth, harvest and post-harvest processes.
XOCO provides the most delicate and consistent aromas because it only works with single varieties. The same goes for fruit trees. It involves painstaking work grafting hundreds of trees to make a mother tree which is then propagated to bring out all the complexity of cocoa.
The MAYAN RED variety
That's the name of the variety used in our chocolate couverture. It comes from very rare mother trees identified by XOCO deep in the Honduras jungle. The name of the variety comes from its bright red pod and red roasted beans. We were won over by the unique smooth flavour of berries and ripe dark fruit with a hint of acidity and plum notes. The beans have a lingering flavour but aren't too bitter.
A sustainable and fair cultivation method
The project is fuelled by the environment. XOCO combines traditional and trail-blazing techniques to increase the yield per hectare and successfully reverse the process of deforestation. The mountainside position of the plantations protects them from disease and avoids the use of inputs. The regularly pruned trees thrive on weeded land packed with nutrients from rainfall.
Improving the standard of living among farmers is one of XOCO's core values. XOCO agrees to a price and order size with them to protect them from the weather and market (when the exchange rate drops). Last but not least, XOCO provides a free training and technical support programme to help farmers improve productivity.