Our cocoa continues to conquer markets around the world. This time it was the turn of Italy, the location of the renowned restaurant belonging to chef Ernst Knam, known as the “King of Chocolate”, who bought three tons of the “Señorita” variety of Peruvian Chuncho cocoa.
The successful sale was made by the Tupayachi Cárdenas family of producers, established in the Cusco district of Quellouno (La Convención province) through its company Paytiti. The cocoa is bound for the port of Genoa, from where it will be transferred to Ernst Knam’s renowned Milan bakery.
This is the first time that Cusco producers are exporting Chuncho cocoa to Italy, and they are doing so directly, all thanks to the support of the Trade Commission of Peru in Milan (OCEX Milan) and PromPerú.
“For the Tupayachi Cárdenas family, the sale of their cocoa has presented an opportunity to open up Italian and European markets, illustrating the important work undertaken in caring for such a unique and precious cocoa variety," highlighted OCEX Milan.
Moreover, OCEX Milan explained that Knam has been working with cocoa from Peru for a long time, and that, thanks to a trade mission to Cusco that took place last year, the chef agreed to a very special type, adapted to his taste, as is the case with the Señorita variety.
Get to know Chuncho cocoa
Originally from Cusco, Chuncho Cocoa is one of the finest in the world. It was domesticated by the native Matshiguengas community, whose members were ancestral inhabitants of the eastern part of Cusco, known as Antisuyo at the time of the Incas (now the province of La Convención). They used cocoa as fruit and as a product to trade with.
The word "chuncho" appeared in the colonial era to indicate native inhabitants of the area, and the name “cacao chuncho de Cusco”, or “chuncho cocoa from Cusco”, originates from the same period in reference to the cocoa originally used by the Cusco jungle natives. This term still prevails today to refer to the cocoa that is native to the region.
Chuncho cocoa has unique attributes that differentiate it from other types of cocoa. It is characterized by having higher fat content at the time of making chocolate. It also has an intense aroma, notes of citrus, dried fruits and nuts, and a medium bitterness. Moreover, when blended with spices and nuts, the taste of the chocolate is enhanced.
Who is Ernst Knam?
Ernst Knam is a renowned European chocolatier and television personality. After beginning his career as a pastry chef, he worked in many Michelin-starred restaurants around Europe; he was in different cities in the UK and Switzerland, before finally settling in Italy. He also spent seasons in Asia, in places such as Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Since 1992, his patisserie has been one of the most famous in Milan, a store on Via Anfossi. With the passage of time – and chef Knam's increasing renown – he changed the name from “L’Antica Arte del Dolce” to “Pasticceria Ernst Knam”. The patisserie has won many international cooking and pastry awards.
Since 2012, Knam has played a leading role on the Discovery network, thanks to the docureality show “Il Re del Cioccolato” (“The King of Chocolate”). The following year he became a member of the judging panel for the “Bake Off Italia” and “Junior Bake Off” shows.
- Peruvian cocoa and its derivatives are highly appreciated products in the Italian market, with Peru being the third largest supplier of cocoa to the tune of more than $18 million.
- Ernst Knam recently launched his new book, My Story with Chocolate. Sweet pleasure in seventy recipes, in which he mentions Peru and Peruvian cocoa in particular.
Sources: Mincetur/ Gestión/ Cosas/ apecmu.org