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Partner Profile

FINCA ELVESIA

Country: Dominican Republic

Region: Hato Mayor Province

Number of Farmers: 1

Partner Since: 2010

Cacao Tasting Notes: Ripe mango and banana; light acidity

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People

Taza Chocolate Direct Trade Finca Elvesia Partner Profile | Jesse and Finca Elvesia Team

A family of Swiss immigrants planted Finca Elvesia at the end of the 19th century. European chocolate makers soon discovered the farm’s exceptional cacao, motivating the Swiss to invest in a railway running from Finca Elvesia the nearest port at Cano Hondo. Since these early days, the farm has changed hands several times, but the quality of its cacao has remained consistent. Today, Finca Elvesia is expertly run by Ramon Lopez. Ramon grew up in El Cibao, the heart of the country’s cacao sector, and he manages the farm with help from his talented deputy, Isidro Castillo. The full team includes over three dozen Dominican and Haitian men, the latter of whom have immigrated for the steady work and fair pay on the farm.

Place

Taza Chocolate Direct Trade Finca Elvesia Partner Profile | Finca Elvesia Mural

Nestled among rolling hills, Finca Elvesia lies a world away from the tropical beaches and popular resorts of Punta Cana less than 70 miles to the east. The farm is located in the agricultural community of El Valle and stretches over more than 150 hectares (about 370 acres) of productive land. Arriving at Finca Elvesia feels like passing into an alternate universe – a peaceful cosmos of cacao trees sprouting red, orange, yellow and green pods of every shape and size. For good reason Finca Elvesia is considered one of the country’s most extraordinary farms.

Pod

Taza Chocolate Direct Trade Finca Elvesia Partner Profile | Finca Elves Cacao Pods

Finca Elvesia is a kind of botanical garden filled with cacao genetics brought primarily from Venezuela during the Dominican Republic’s earliest cocoa-growing days in the mid 1600’s. After the cacao pods are harvested, the fruit-covered beans are transported to the farm’s fermentation and drying facility. The beans spend a total of five days in the wooden boxes, reaching a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit as naturally occurring yeasts break down the sugary pulp. The fermentation process eliminates the beans’ natural astringency, replacing it with mild acidity and notes of tropical fruit that emerge as the cacao dries slowly under the sun.

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