More Peruvian products travel around the world. This time, it was white cocoa's turn, a Peruvian fruit that grows mostly in the north, more specifically in the department of Piura. This, like the other cocoa varieties produced in the country, is highly praised by food and confectionery enthusiasts.
According to the international National Geographic magazine, this is the best variety of cocoa in the world (there are ten types in total), and has made this clear in its latest January edition. “In a country where eight of the world’s cocoa varieties are found, white cocoa is without a doubt the crowning jewel: cocoa from Piura is considered to be the best cocoa in the world and only makes up 0.25% of the global production,” it states on the portal.
According to this media outlet, it is a product that particularly stands out for the contrasting flavors it holds. “It lets the palate distinguish citric and fruity notes with a hint of nuts. It is a chocolate that is less bitter and acidic, and contains anthocyanins, a water-soluble pigment which gives the seed inside a purple color”, it notes.
Why the best in the world?
Experts believe that the peculiar taste of white cocoa stems from the good climatic conditions of the place where it is grown – as you may know, Piura has a tropical climate almost all year round. In addition, they highlighted the dedication of the cocoa-growing communities — such as that of César Vallejo, located in the town of Polo Blanco — to preserving the ecosystem in which their star product grows.
“There are hundreds of hectares of plantations in these mountains which are managed by different communities that have agreed to reserve the 200 hectares located at the top of the mountains with the sole objective of maintaining virgin cocoa production. A place where no tree is touched or used. In fact, there isn’t even a way to get to them.”
In the past, its appearance led the locals to think that this type of cocoa was not in a good condition and they therefore removed it from the harvest without knowing that, later, it would become a jewel for the faithful followers of confectionery.
It was the European chocolate masters who discovered what this fruit had to offer, and they didn’t hesitate to revalue it. Large foreign companies, including Valrhona, Philipe Bernachon, Marcolini and Pierrick Chouard have turned their attention to this fruit and made it the star ingredient of their select range of sweet products.
In 2018, white cocoa was honored at the 12th National Quality Cocoa Contest, which took place as part of the ninth edition of the Peruvian Cocoa and Chocolate Show, where it won first place.
Three years earlier, it made the list of the 50 Best Cocoa Beans in the World at the Paris Cocoa and Chocolate Show.
A golden food product
Cocoa — also known by its scientific name: Theobroma cacao — offers a variety of benefits for the human body as it has a high content of potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. In addition, its antioxidant properties help reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.
Furthermore, it contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid responsible for stimulating the production of serotonin (also known as the "happiness hormone"), which helps to improve a person's mood.
Did you know?
- In Peru there are three native sub-varieties which don’t exist anywhere else in the world: Chuncho (produced in Cusco), Fortunato (from Cajamarca) and, of course, white cocoa from Piura.
- According to reported data, the price per metric ton of white cocoa is US$ 2,400.
Sources: Minagri/ Caretas/ EFE/ La República/ Expogourmet/ Andina/ El Tiempo