Hey, hola, ciao!
We are Elisa and JuanRa, founders of VAICACAO ®, where we take natural, single-estate cacao and create minimally-processed cacao nibs, “holistic” drinking cacao (Ceremonial Cacao), and craft chocolate bars. We didn't choose cacao, cacao chose us!
We met in El Salvador (Central America) in 2012 when Elisa, who is from Italy, was working for UN Women. JuanRa is from an entrepreneurial family in El Salvador, and after studying in the US he went home and during his spare time got involved with his father's farm as they diversified from coffee to cacao. JuanRa loved being in nature, planting, and seeing growth. Elisa said let's make it a business, and in 2016 we did!
The two of us handle every step of production at our little chocolate factory by the beach in Italy. We are located in the town of Olbia, on Sardinia, the Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea which is home of the Costa Smeralda, or Emerald Coast. We are the only bean-to-bar chocolate makers in Sardinia, and we are proud to use ethically sourced cacao so that our products give you traceability, authenticity, and flavor!
Our sustainable project
The idea was born starting from a simple concept: to exploit the numerous properties of cocoa to create healthy, poorly processed, ethical and sustainable productsIII. We wanted people to be able to know, with transparency, where our cocoa comes from, how we produce it, including when it was harvested, and above all to be able to enjoy genuine products that can be obtained from this extraordinary seed.
SIMPLICITY AND SHORT LIST OF INGREDIENTS
Simplicity is truly our best quality, together with the fact that we are the first short Italian-Salvadoran cocoa chain in Europe, with a 2.0 family project. which aims to improve current agricultural processes, to make room for new and advanced techniques through the use of technology.
SHORT CHAIN - 0 INTERMEDIARIES, WE DO IT ALL
Our project has among the objectives to create inputs positive, starting from those who deal with cacao plantations not only from El Salvador but also from all of Central America, especially from neighboring countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, allowing traceability, better communication, adequate modern post-harvest systems, high cocoa quality and transmission of prices above market ones.
Once the cocoa has been imported from El Salvador and Central America directly from the plantations, we proceed with the transformation of the cocoa beans and transform them into healthy “cacao nibs”, “ceremonial cacao” and “chocolate bean to bar”.
HANDCRAFTED WITH LOVE IN SARDINIA
The processing takes place in Olbia (Sardinia), making us at the moment the only cocoa roaster that transforms directly from the cocoa bean in Sardinia.
We have adopted artisanal techniques craftsmanship, for example through the rediscovery of stone grinding cacao beans, where we are able to make each production batch unique, highlighting the natural aromatic notes of each cocoa.
Cacao also deserves its place and is to be compared to wine: each harvest, origin, variety, post-harvest processes, cause the flavor to change, creating a world of different aromas.
Our products have a strong character Millennial, and are for the most part without the use of added sugars, thus promoting an excellent cacao, rich in benefits and properties for our health. Our chocolate line has a very short ingredient list. We talk about two at most three ingredients, of which the third is an ingredient from Sardinian territory.
We don't add cocoa butter, cocoa powder, soy lecithin or artificial flavors. For their creation we use only unrefined certified organic sugars. Industrialization in this sector has forced people to know only the standardization of flavors, and not to understand, appreciate and distinguish the quality of cacao and good chocolate. Artisan businesses like ours ensure that better communication channels are created between those who produce and those who consume, that new flavors are rediscovered, that there is a better distribution of profits along the entire supply chain, that there is greater attention to environmental sustainability issues , avoiding unfair commercial practices adopted by large confectionery industries, practices that often involve inhuman working conditions, poor cacaos quality and significant environmental damage.
Our reality is oriented to zero waste in production processes, breaking the conventional business models. We pay close attention to the issue of packaging and packaging, in order to generate less environmental impact and we are always looking for new eco-friendly solutions, even better than the current ones, to offer increasingly sustainable products.
Furthermore, waste is always separated and dutifully recycled. For example, cocoa peels are used in the waste as a natural fertilizer for our grandfather's garden.