The Most Expensive Cacao Beans
The Most Expensive Cacao Beans is a small, tropical plant that is native to South America. The plant is distinguished by its large leaves and small pink flowers on the tree trunk and branches of the tree. The Mayans, Olmec, and Aztecs of Mesoamerica used to worship cacao, and thought of the hot, thick drink they made as the “drink of the gods.” Cacao was also used as the currency for Mesoamericans.
Criollo is the most expensive cacao bean out of the three. It is native to South and Central America. Because of its low vulnerability to disease and its low efficiency, it is also the rarest cacao bean and it makes-up only 10% of the world’s production of cacao beans.
In the Chuao plantations there are currently pure Criollo and hybrid varieties of cacao, which nowadays are hardly being harvested or exploited, mostly in a manual, anachronistic fashion. Unlike other regions of Venezuela where cacao is grown, harvested, and processed in an industrial scale and using modern technology, in Chuao the great abundance of cacao trees still grow in centuries-old plantations, now abandoned, bear fruits and beans which are mostly wasted, left to rot. In front of the town’s church, there is a patio where cocoa beans used to be sun-dried, and next to the church there is a Cacao Museum depicting the manual process to obtain chocolate used in the past.
Criollo beans from Chuao are of a very high quality, The Most Expensive Cacao Beans and are considered among Venezuela’s finest, together with Carenero Superior, grown and exploited in the region of Barlovento, and Porcelana beans from the southern shores of Lake Maracaibo (another genetically pure variety of Criollo).