Do you have a taste for rare treasures? If so, I think you’ll love this limited edition “The Lost City” Jaguar Cacao Nibs 72% Dark Chocolate Bar.
This was a favorite at a recent private tasting I hosted for Barometer Chocolate top fans. The Honduran bar, with lovely notes of roasted almond and rich cocoa, is studded with a soft and delicious crunch from “jaguar cacao,” a blonde bean.
Jaguar is a genetic varietal cousin to traditional cacao that is typically used to make chocolate bars, and it goes by different names. Peruvians call it “macambo” and Mexicans call it “pataxte” or “jaguar cacao.” It is only wild harvested, and therefore, quite rare.
If a delicate, buttery macadamia nut flavor with a satisfying light crunch appeals to you, then you’re in for a real treat with this bar.
Denise Castronovo, the maker of this unique bar, sourced the jaguar cacao directly from a women’s chocolate cooperative of widows, whose land was once firmly in the grips of drug traffickers. These brave women restored peace to the community with the help of USAID.
Cacao agroforestry is a ray of hope. It preserves rainforests and offers a promising alternative to cattle ranches that are merely fronts for narcotrafficking. A majestic jaguar graces the packaging for the bar because jaguars are safe from the threat of poachers and can freely roam within the cacao forests, thanks to all of those caring individuals (like Denise Castronovo and the women farmers) who feel called to work with chocolate.
I've had the pleasure of meeting Denise Castronovo, the maker of this fine chocolate bar. Denise leads the pack of solo female chocolate makers, a rare breed and a group I love to support. She is the only one among them whose U.S. bean-to-bar company has amassed dozens of awards from the International Chocolate Awards (as well as Academy of Chocolate Awards and Good Food Awards).
Denise had always been a foodie and fine chocolate lover thanks to an aunt who lived in Switzerland and kept her supplied with spectacular chocolate bars that were unavailable in the United States. Those bars, far superior to any chocolate she had ever tasted, made an impact that imprinted on her soul. After a long and successful career dedicated to protecting the environment through mapping technology and spatial analysis, Denise and her husband moved from Massachusetts to Florida, where she decided to approach protection of the environment from a far tastier perspective.
The fact that Denise’s first batch of chocolate turned out absolutely delicious, kept her motivated to make more!
For Denise, making bean-to-bar craft chocolate is a way to improve lives and livelihoods of indigenous people. She insists on protecting the rainforests by supporting natural utilization of the land. None of Denise Castronovo’s beans come from manicured cacao plantations that had once been lush rainforests, cut down in the name of profit. All of the cacao beans she uses to make her luscious bars and treats either grow naturally in the wild or come from small, family-owned farms where cacao just happens to be one of their crops.
Denise is an inspired artisan as well as a steward of the land and protector of indigenous communities. Her chocolate is exceptional, and I know you will appreciate the fine flavor of her bars as well as her commitment to nurturing the natural world and its inhabitants.
- Ingredients: Organic Cocoa Beans, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter, Jaguar Cacao (Macambo)
- Net Weight: 62 g. / 2.2 oz.
- Country of Origin: USA