Meet the Maker: Juan Santelices of Pacari Chocolates
If there’s one thing that tastes like Christmas, it’s chocolate. Pacari Chocolates are more than your average chocolate maker though. Creators of decadent premium chocolate that’s delicious and kind to the environment, communities and palettes; in this week’s Meet the Maker feature we head to Ecuador via Edinburgh.
Redefining the way premium chocolate is produced
One of the first things you’ll notice when speaking to Juan, Manager Director at Pacari, is his passion for ethical production. It’s one of the things that Pacari fans have grown to love about the brand. Here Juan tells us about the ethical production side of the business.
“Pacari is one of the few chocolates made in a cacao growing nation, from tree to bar. That’s right all of our production is made in the same country. That’s really unique as less than 1% of all chocolates in the UK market are made in a cacao growing country. The way we work helps ensure that between five to 10 times more wealth remains in the cacao growing nation than when and ethical chocolate is made in the UK, rest of the EU or the USA. It’s something we’re really proud of. Pacari was the first chocolate company to carry the Demeter Biodynamic Certification stamp, which accredits farms for maintaining self-regenerative ecosystems to create an ecological balance between animals, the soil, plants, and humans. In 2017, we were also recognised by the B Lab Foundation as among the world’s best B Corporations because of our business model that uses responsible products to provide concrete solutions to social and environmental problems.”
A taste that creates lasting memories
With such an inspiring focus on ethical business one might be fooled into thinking that taste is compromised but as you read on, you’ll soon learn that’s anything but the case.
“Leaders of haute cuisine are now using our chocolate in their recipes” Juan proudly shares, and quite rightly so – the list of renowned chefs who are fans of Pacari chocolate is rather impressive. “In 2013, pastry chef Paul Young won two gold awards in the International Chocolate awards for his truffles made with Pacari chocolates. Currently, Michelin-star chef Carolina Sánchez, culinary expert Paco Pérez, the great Martín Berasategui, perhaps the most recognised Spanish chef with a total of ten Michelin Stars and in the UK Graham Garett also a Michelin-star chef and restaurant owner, all include Pacari as a key ingredient in their kitchens. This shows what’s possible and how to create different stunning chocolate recipes with our products. As our chocolate products are made with fine flavour cacao, from Ecuador, I would recommend any chefs and aspiring cooks to allow these aromas and flavours to come through with their creations. Take advantage of something different when creating your recipes.”
One for the chocolate loving foodies out there
If there’s one thing we know about our Foodies Festival family, it’s that you love to try exotic new flavours and you’re adventurous in your palette choices. By this point you’re probably just as hungry for a bar of their chocolate as we are, so we asked Juan what visitors to Foodies Festival shows can expect from the Pacari team.
“You’ll be able to try a great range of our award winning chocolate bars, some of them winners of the gold medal as best dark chocolates in the world over the last seven years. Including single origin chocolates, chocolates with; passion fruit, orange, Christmas allspice, cardamon, lemon grass, orange, rose, Andean mint, Ecuadorian coffee or pink salt from Cuzco. You could also take the unique chocolate covered cacao beans or choose some of the Pacari chocolate gift sets that you won’t be able to find in the high street. We’re really excited about the flavours foodies can try and at Foodies Festival they’ll be plenty of samples for you to try too.”