It’s almost impossible to find another cocoa bean origin in the world with as many ties to chocolate’s history as Cortés, Honduras. An ancient shipping port on the north coast of Honduras, the region was named for Hernán Cortés, the Spanish explorer who was responsible for bringing the sacred cocoa bean from the Mayan civilization to Spain’s royalty. Today, almost 500 years since Cortés leaked one of the history’s sweetest secrets, the Cortés region still produces some of the finest beans for exquisite chocolate.
However, Cortés’ story with the cocoa bean industry hasn’t always been a successful one. Almost 15 years ago, a wave of hurricanes, low demand and widespread sickness plagued the bean business and drove it to the brink of extinction. Not to be defeated, the area’s hard-working farmers and their supporters, including Askinosie Chocolate, persevered to bring the industry back to the forefront of the cocoa market.
The Cortés region is situated perfectly for harvesting and exporting cocoa beans. Its warm, humid weather and fertile ground creates the ideal environment for bean growth, and its proximity to open waters makes it easy to ship. Since 2010, we have developed our direct trade relationship with the singular farm, Finca Patricia, and the farm manager, Fermin Arriaga, to directly source the perfect cocoa beans from this region. Arriaga, who has lived with his family on the farm for years and whose image represents our Cortés bar, works tirelessly with a tight-knit group of local farmers to produce top-quality beans. We regularly visit Finca Patricia to examine the beans and profit share with Cortés’ diligent farmers. This origin is one of our best examples of the success and benefits of a direct trade relationship. With each new crop, the Cortés farmers consistently improve on their existing excellence by implementing our collaborative ideas and techniques for even better post-harvest practices.
Beans from Cortés are a Trinitario varietal, a scarce and high-quality bean used only to make fine chocolate. The farmers’ careful attention during the harvesting process helps us draw forth the intriguing flavors of citrus, molasses, sharp stonefruit and woodiness from these distinct beans. These beans are used to craft our critically-acclaimed 70% Cortés, Honduras Dark Chocolate Bar, as well as many other products.