Native to Central and South America, cacao was used as currency by the Aztecs who stored the beans in vast royal treasuries. It was domesticated by the ancient Olmec civilization around 1,000 BCE. Cacao made its way to other continents during the Spanish Conquests and colonization, but the cacao from Central & South America is still prized as the best in the world. Flavor profiles vary significantly by country and by micro-region within a country. Peru is a particularly popular cacao origin. It is home to some unique genetic varietals of cacao that have remained genetically isolated for centuries and offer delicious flavor.
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