Welcome to Maleku Chocolate!
In December 2016 we became cacao farmers and are very proud to call ourselves "tree-to-bar" chocolate makers! In our gorgeous Maleku Chocolate Forest just a couple of miles from Upala we are growing a selection of fine flavor cacao
This is the field in which science meets art and it is the crucial and most important part of our business. Quality is the most important factor, and consistency is a must.
Other indispensable issues are first class design and wrapping as well as market positioning, bar sizes, flavors, POS and distributors.
I believe in a patient approach the artisan way which means not going for “quick fix” technology in which the beans are refined quickly and aggressively followed by a super-fast conching method. My experience is that good chocolate needs good time in a slow refining and aeration process using classic refining drums with which we can follow the development of the chocolate directly as it happens. This will in general mean 72 hours in the process for our dark and fine single estate products and most likely something similar for our semi-dark milk chocolate.
Quality and Profits
We have a unique opportunity to become a recognized producer of the finest cacao and chocolate products. Because we will choose from the best available genetic material and because we will be 100% in control of every step in the chain of events from planting the seed to packing the chocolate bar we can optimize quality in the entire process. This is paramount when we want to deliver the best chocolate for the international market. There are hundreds of “bean-to-bar” chocolate makers in the World but very few “tree-to-bar” makers like Maleku Chocolate. This will give us a unique position when we aim for the market of fine chocolate lovers who appreciate and are willing to pay for an authentic and original fine product.
Sustainability and Fair Trade
When we create our Maleku Chocolate Forest we will contribute to a healthier environment in a rainforest climate and habitat. Our Chocolate Forest will cool the Earth, improve underground water reserves, combat erosion and create a new habitat for tropical birds and animals. We will avoid insecticides and herbicides and keep the use of chemical fertilizers to a minimum in full compliance with the Rainforest Alliance certification program.
Our staff and workers will be treated fairly with an incentive program rewarding excellence at work, they will be fully insured and have social security and benefits.
Am I good at what I do?
I believe I have a very sensitive nose and palate for fine chocolate and I know how to get the best out of the cacao I work with, but please don’t take MY word for it.
Doreen Pendgracs - award-winning author of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate" said "You are a talented chocolate maker!" and here is a recent review by Lee McCoy of chocolatiers.co.uk, judge at the International Chocolate Awards:
Here I have two chocolate bars produced by a new-to-me maker in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, which goes by the name Beach Chocolate - and is exactly the type of chocolate maker we'd love to support more. Henrik picks the cacao himself and then works on the seeds to make his own organic chocolate, as well as using it as a way to teach people about how to make chocolate, the importance of the nation's biodiversity and the cultural importance of cacao to Costa Rican communities.
I've just got to jump straight into the chocolate at this point as this is fantastic. The first I tried was the Celeste. It's a high Criollo genetic Trinitario and has made chocolate that smacks of Javan fire-dried cocoa. But subsequent experiences are heavy on the molasses and leather from a distance. I simply love it. The melt takes ages and delivers its flavour payload for minutes after this melt has finished. There is just so much going on in this bar that some bites will give you spice, others plum, others under-ripe banana. This is just simply outstanding! Now I'm getting caramel sauce.
The next is a Tenorio, which apparently in Spanish is 'Lady Killer'. But I'm not thinking of that. It just washes over me like a Bajan cocktail. There are heaps of soft fruits, nibs, banana and I have no idea what. It may be a blend of Trinitario but it is remarkably different than much of the large scale chocolate makers I have tried. It also comes in three discs rather than traditional bar form and is fantastic.
This is company I'm seriously going to have to look at stocking."