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Lourdes Delgado Promotes Ecuador’s Arriba Nacional Cacao in London

Yesterday at the Arts Club, 40 Dover Street, London to discuss the new chocolate brand out of Ecuador, Chchukululu,  Doug Hawkins with Lourdes Delgado (Chocolate taster, Entrepreneur, Promoter of the National Cacao of Ecuador, and founder of Chchukululu) and Sara Jayne Stanes, Chairman of The Academy of Chocolate and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.

Doug & Chchukululu & Academy of Chocolate

Chchukululu-EcuadorLourdes’ family has been involved in the Ecuadorian cacao and coffee sectors for four generations, and Lourdes must rank as amongst Ecuador’s finest ambassadors for the vibrant cocoa culture that has been developed in the country. Ecuador is known both for its renowned fine flavour Arriba Nacional Cacao and for CCN-51, reportedly described by Howard Yana Shapiro, Chief Agricultural Officer for Mars Inc as the ‘workhorse’ of the chocolate industry. But traditionalists and connoisseurs of fine chocolate, like Lourdes, are on a mission to promote the cultivation of Arriba Nacional varieties.

The deeply respected expert on Ecuadorean cacao, Jeffrey G Stern (http://jeffreygstern.com/about/) notes that “a truly valid definition of the Arriba Nacional term when applied to Ecuadorian cacao, or simply the Arriba name, includes Nacional beans sourced in parts of the Province of Guayas, the Province of Los Ríos and a small fraction of the Province of Bolívar”. However Ecuador’s Institute of Intellectual Protection (Instituto Ecuatoriano de Propiedad Intelectual, IEPI in Spanish), which is responsible for trademarks and other intellectual property rights, published and approved an “Arriba” Protected Denomination of Origin that extends to all beans of the Nacional variety. As a result cacao from Nacional beans grown anywhere in Ecuador is now called Arriba. As Mr Stern and others point out however this “is a major deviation from the original historical definition of the term”.

Ecuador has placed itself at the very centre of the Latin American cocoa production industry, and it has distinguished itself as the fastest growing significant producer of this century. With supply sputtering in West Africa, the chocolate confectionery sector is looking to Latin America to produce all it can. But of greater importance to manufacturers and connoisseurs of fine chocolate like Lourdes Delgado and Sara Jayne Stanes is the precious supply of true Arriba Nacional cacao.

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