31 chocolate shops in Europe sell Salvadoran cocoa

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By LatAm Reports Editorial Team

Salvadoran cocoa arrives at artisan chocolate shops in France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, the United Kingdom and Turkey.

At least 31 small chocolate shops in Europe use Salvadoran cocoa in their bar and chocolate preparations, according to records from the Cocoa Alliance.

The cultivation of cocoa dates back to before the Spanish conquest and even historians document that the Izalco region was the largest producer in America. However, its participation in agricultural activity declined with the expansion of coffee and, subsequently, with sugar cane and basic grains.

In 2014, the Cacao Alliance program was launched to rescue ancestral cultivation, as well as explore new buyers in specialized markets given the attributes of Salvadoran grain.

Jairo Andrade, director of the Alliance, stressed that El Salvador exports as a country of origin to Italy and France, where it is distributed for five additional European markets: Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany and Turkey (it has a region located in Eastern Europe).

Cocoa arrives exported to France and the company, which exports cocoa in beans, is not a chocolate maker, is a trader who in turn is in charge of distributing his clientele, small chocolate choos in several European countries, Andrade said.

Cocoa route.

The list of chocolate shops are 18 in France, such as Encuentro, Caron, Max Vauché, Hasnaa, Criollo Chocolatiers, Xocolatl Bretagne, Poco a Poco, among others. Three are from the United Kingdom, six from Spain, one in Switzerland, one in Cyprus, one in Italy and one in Turkey.

The important thing about this is that the European market, consumers, are not large chocolateers, are small who buy four or five quintals of cocoa for their processes, but they are identifying the origin,” Andrade added, ensuring that the labelling of chocolate bars contain information from Salvadoran farms.

The executive said Salvadoran cocoa makes its way through handcrafted chocolate shops, with a value proposition that includes the origin of cocoa and that can hardly be replaced by another supplier.

Europe acquired about 30 tons of the more than 1,200 tonnes obtained in the financial year 2022-2023.

According to the Central Reserve Bank (BCR), at the end of 2023 a little more than $6.17 million of cocoa and preparations were exported to 17 countries. The United States is the main buyer, with a share of 38.8 %, followed by Europe with 29.1 %.

Harmony with coffee.

In 2014, when the Alliance’s program began, 800 low-intensity apples were counted, as an alternative to coffee growers who a year earlier had lost coffee crops due to the fierce strike of the rod.

Currently, the institution reports between 4,000 and 5,000 blocks of young plantations.

The cocoa crop was integrated into the coffee farms, with the difference that the best cocoa is obtained in low territories – not more than 800 meters above sea level – while the higher quality aromatic grain is achieved in height (more than 1,200 meters high).

3 data on the cocoa route

The crop was abandoned until 2014, with the launch of Alianza Cacao.

1. Production

According to the Alliance, there are more than 4,000 blocks of young cocoa plantations in the country. The best grain is obtained from crops located less than 800 meters above sea level.

2.- Buyers

The BCR records that cocoa is sold to 17 countries, especially the United States and Europe. In addition, there are exports to Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

3.- Markets off the radio

The list of grain buyers also includes Vietnam, Japan and Trinidad and Tobago. Vietnam and Turkey started buying in 2023.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in Diario El Mundo