In Mexico, legend has it that the Olmecs (1500-1400 BC) were the first to grind cocoa into drink form, a trend that eventually spread to the Aztec and Maya civilizations. At the time, the cocoa pod was worth more than gold, and thus highly coveted for its trading value. For these ancient societies, cocoa was a sign of abundance. It was used in funerals, offerings, and religious ceremonies dedicated to figures such as Quetzalcoat (the Aztec god) or Chak Ek Chuah (the patron saint of Mayan cocoa). It was enjoyed as a drug, a tonic, and even an aphrodisiac. It was only until later, after recipes and techniques had improved, that cocoa made its way into the world of food.
Today, edible chocolate is the most popular form of cacao! Most of Mexico’s chocolate production occurs in the state of Tabasco, with nearly 41 thousand hectares of crop. Here is where you will find our plantation, Comercializadora Semillas Aldama, where Valrhona supports producers to improve sustainability and wages internally.
THE PLANTATION: COMMERCIALIZADORA SEMILLAS ALDAMA
When it was created in 2006, Comerciliazadora Semillas Aldama's mission was to save the production and identity of cocoa in the southeastern state of Tabasco. 15 years later, the company provides the network of local producers with everything they need to excel, from the best plants to the most advanced technical support, around Aldama’s center dedicated to drying and fermentation. Strong future for a strong product!
PHOTOGRAPHIES: LAURENT VU / PIERRE OLLIER FOR VALRHONA / VALRHONA