Unlike most chocolates made in Ecuador, Colombia, or Venezuela that tout themselves as “Farmer’s chocolates,” Vintage Plantations is an independent company. Not having to satisfy outside investors allows us to prioritize the quality of our products over the size of the bottom line.
The Mission: To support the small chocolate industry in countries where the chocolate originates by re-designing the cocoa commodity chain, thereby aiding farmers to adopt better farm management practices, protect the environment, ensure crops are free of harmful chemicals, and maximize their income in order to encourage the farmers’ optimal re-investment in the development of high-quality chocolate.
The Challenge: We make chocolate in cooperation only with entities willing to follow the Rainforest Alliance Guidelines, and we train them to achieve very high standards of quality. We only support small farmers and league with local small enterprises in both Ecuador and the USA for all services needed to run our company.
We selected among three roasters to find the Ecuadorian partner which had the finest equipment to convert all the work we had done on fermentation into a ground liquor without losing any of the organoleptic qualities we had so carefully developed during cocoa bean fermentations. Since we have established this process for creating very high quality chocolates, we are proud to say that 17 new chocolate companies have sprung up in Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia following our footsteps. Vintage Plantations pioneered the renewal of artisan, batch chocolate making.
We have reconfigured chocolate making — from beans to bars — by requiring best farming and business practices in accordance with the Rainforest Alliance Guidelines. Moreover, we strive to balance the profit at every stage of the commodity chain between farmer and consumer, in order to make it more sustainable for all actors, thereby bringing added value to the chocolate in your hand.
The Result: Our model aims to protect you, the consumer, from the degradation of chocolate quality that is often the consequence of the single-minded pursuit of meeting “profit benchmarks”in major confectionery and chocolate industrial groups. Our products are made only from fermented, native original Vintage cocoa beans and honor the local flavor of the plantations, each harvest, and the distinctiveness of beans from one farm to another.
In order to get back to the vintage chocolate process of yesteryears, we had to design a new commodity chain, where only parties contributing to enhancing the quality of the end product were invited to join; those merely seeking profit from the current market imbalances were left out. The savings derived from circumventing the usual players were passed along to the farmer and re-invested in the development of the farms.
At Vintage Plantations, we have the unique perspective of having forged this standard of chocolate making from beginning, including several trials and unsuccessful partnerships from which we have been able to perfect and further develop our process. The end result, we are proud to say, is the first chocolate made with the farmer, offering you a “Vintage”chocolate of the highest quality.