Sagrado Valley Chuncho Cacao

Ark of taste
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The cacao variety called “chuncho” in Quechua is a native variety to the southern area of Peru belonging to the Alto Amazonas forastero genetic group. The inhabitants of large cities use “chuncho” to disparagingly describe the local inhabitants of the Amazon jungle who do not completely adapt to a western lifestyle.

This rare cacao variety grows in the areas near the Urubamba river and thanks to the excellent conditions found in this area, cacao plantations have played a key role for the local economy. Its origins date back centuries, when it was grown by the Machiguenga indigenous communities in the Amazon basin.

The plant of this cacao variety can reach a height of around 10 or 12 meters and for this reason it is difficult to harvest the fruit. The harvest period normally starts in December and lasts until the end of February, however some plants that grow in more favorable areas and are able to produce fruit until April. The fruit has an elongated shape with a smooth yellow skin; the flesh contains many seeds and has a delicate aroma and very fruity flavor similar to citrus fruit. It acidity and astringency are very low. It is a productive variety that is particularly resistant to diseases.

Most of the cacao is transformed into cocoa butter, powder or paste, normally a small part is used to make bars which are then sold in local markets.

Up to a few decades ago it was common to see street vendors selling hot or cold cocoa based drinks depending on the season.
Despite its qualities, very popular abroad with chocolate makers, local producers are eliminating it from plantations to replace it with more productive and profitable crops.

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Production area:Echarate district, La Convención province

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Nominated by:Dauro Mattia Zocchi, Alessandra Vesta Pinasco García-Miró, Vilsic Bocangel