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The Choba Choba Blog

Choba Choba and the International Cocoa Awards

Written by Choba Choba
Cocoa of Excellence Program

The International Cocoa Awards (ICA) are an international competition that elects the best cocoas in the world and rewards cocoa producers for their expertise and craftsmanship.

As a passionate and ambitious cocoa producer that only uses the best cocoa for its chocolate, and actively campaigns for the protection and reproduction of rare cacao varieties from the Alto Huayabamba, Choba Choba is greatly excited for the next edition of the renown event.

This year is the second time that we’re aiming for an international award with our cocoa. The first time, in 2017, our cocoa was ranked one of the three best Peruvian cocoas and fifty best cocoas in the world. This is an overwhelming success, given Choba Choba received the award only two years after being founded! And it was all the more a memorable Choba Choba moment, as two of our cocoa farmers and Choba Choba co-founders, Doriza and Carlos, personally received the distinction at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris.

That’s why we are all very excited to see how the evaluation will turn out this year! Will our cocoa once again be named one of the best Peruvian cocoas, or can it even win an award?

But what hurdles Choba Choba’s cocoa must still overcome to enter the final round of the competition and have a shot at an award?

The Cocoa of Excellence Program

… is the gateway to the International Cocoa Awards. The program lasts 1.5 years, starting with the announcement of the new competition guidelines and an invitation to all cocoa producers. To know more about the other stages of the program, see the graphic below (source: cocoaofexcellence.org):

Cocoa of Excellence Program

Last October, the time had come again: Choba Choba, along with 156 other Peruvian cocoa producers, handed a sample of its best cocoa to the Peruvian National Committee to formalise its participation in the competition. What followed was a rigorous evaluation of all cocoa samples by the Peruvian National Committee. This committee is responsible for the pre-selection at the national level and selection of the best cocoas for the international competition. This year, the Peruvian National Committee selected 7 cocoas – Choba Choba’s being one of them – representing genetic diversity and Peruvian regions.

In addition to the Peruvian National Committee, 44 other national committees simultaneously made a preliminary selection, whereupon a total of 200 cocoa samples were sent to Bioversity International, the main organiser of the competition, in order to take part in the international competition. And these cocoa samples are now being re-examined by the Cocoa of Excellence Technical Committee, made up of the world’s best cocoa and chocolate experts. This stage leads to the nomination of the 50 best cocoa samples representing the four cocoa regions worldwide, with the prospect of receiving one of the 15-20 awards in the final round of the competition.

Will Choba Choba’s cocoa figure amongst these 50 best? We have great expectations!

Choba Choba and the search for local cacao varieties

Since Choba Choba was founded, the team has been dedicated to researching and protecting local cacao varieties in the Alto Huayabamba. Choba Choba not only wants to study, grow, and cultivate these still almost unknown varieties, but also process them into the best chocolate. That’s why the “Nativo Project” was launched in 2017.

And the works around this project have already borne fruit! On the one hand, we were able to create the Nativo Project Catalogue, i.e. the detailed documentation of all cacao varieties growing on the land of Choba Choba’s farmers. And on the other, we have already surprised our customers with two Nativo Collections, made with the local cocoas of the Alto Huayabamba. Learn here more about the Nativo Project.