Profile at a Glance:
Country: Dominican Republic
Region: Hato Mayor Province
Number of Farmers: 1
Partner Since: 2010
Cacao Tasting Notes: Cherry, ripe mango and banana; bright acidity
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 to Cano Hondo, the nearest port. Since these early days, the farm has changed hands several times, but the quality of its cacao has remained consistent. Today, Finca Elvesia is run by Ramon Lopez. Ramon grew up to the west in El Cibao, the heart of the country’s cacao sector, and he shares his deep knowledge with two young assistants, Isidro Castillo and Esterlin Pion. The team is rounded about by over a dozen Haitian men who have immigrated to the Dominican Republic for the steady work that is so hard to find in Haiti.
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 is Finca Elvesia considered one of the country’s most extraordinary farms.
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 fermentation boxes, reaching a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit as the sugary fruit is broken down by naturally occurring bacteria. The resulting acid reduces the beans’ natural astringency, and by allowing the cacao to dry slowly over a week’s time, the acidity is moderated as well, leaving a bright mix of tropical fruit notes that are perfect for our chocolate.
TRY CACAO FROM FINCA ELVESIA WITH OUR DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ORIGIN BARS!
70% dark chocolate, crafted from organic Dominican cacao, has deep, rich flavor notes of dried tart cherries and fruity tobacco leaf.
80% dark chocolate, crafted from organic Dominican cacao, starts with a burst of ripe strawberry fruit, then mellows into coffee and smoky notes.