Right now, the most expensive cacao bean belongs to the Criollo cocoa, a small, tropical plant which is native to South America. The plant itself is distinguished by its large leaves and small pink flowers on the tree trunk and branches of the tree. The plant of this most expensive cacao bean is used by the Mayans, Olmec, and Aztecs of Mesoamerica to make a drink called “drink of the gods”. It was also used as the currency for Mesoamericans.
Criollo, as the most expensive cacao bean is also one of the most expensive cacao out of the three. The others are Forastero and Trinitario. Because of the low vulnerability and efficiency, this most expensive cacao bean is also the rarest cacao bean and it makes-up only 10% of the world’s production cacao beans.
In the Chuao plantation, there are currently the purest of this most expensive cacao bean and hybrid varieties of cacao. They, nowadays, are hardly being harvested or exploited, mostly in a manual, anachronistic fashion. This most expensive cacao bean was cultivated in Chuao, in centuries-old plantations, now abandoned, bear fruits and beans which are mostly wasted, left to rot.
Organic Criollo Cacao
It’s not as same as in the Venezuela, where this most expensive cacao bean is grown, harvested and processed in an industrial scale and using modern technology. While in front of the town’s church, there is a patio where this most expensive cacao bean used to be sun-dried, and next to the church, there is also a Cacao Museum depicting the manual process to obtain chocolate used in the past.
Criollo Cacao bean from Chuao is one of the best high-quality cacao bean in the world. Together with Caranero Superio, grown and exploited in the region of Barlovento, and Porcelana beans from the southern shores of Lake Maracaibo, these most expensive cacao bean are considered among Venezuela’s finest and greatest cacao bean.