If you enjoy the taste of a good chocolate bite, then a visit to Bolivia, where you can find fresh wild-grown Amazonian cacao, would not disappoint you! Specifically, Sucre is a city with a vast history of chocolate production. There is a variety of cacao seeds, creating undescribable flavors that can make anyone fall in love with chocolate.
Let us start with the key, raw material for a good chocolate: cacao!
Currently, more than 40% of the Bolivian territory is covered by tropical lands, and it is precisely there where the cacao grows. The aim of the country is not mass production but the maintenance of the product's high quality. In fact, 40% of the cacao harvest in Bolivia is wild, which means that the trees are born and grow without human intervention: a step ahead of organic or ecological agriculture. Wild cacao has smaller fruits and generates a lower yield compared to hybrid cacao, which is used in mass production. Its aromatic characteristics give the result of a superior flavor.
In some indigenous communities of tropical lands, cacao is part of daily life. It is not only employed as food, but also as a medicine. Since labor exploitation in cacao harvesting is a current issue around the world, the assurance of fair payment for the thousands of families who live from this task is also an important priority in Bolivia.
While the Amazon rainforest has the ideal conditions for cacao growth, Sucre has the perfect ones for chocolate production: mild weather that remains relatively stable throughout the year. During a period when air conditioners did not exist, the weather was crucial while processing an easily meltable product. That is how the chocolate production in Sucre started several centuries ago, when Potosí, the place with the largest silver deposit back then, was a big market for this delicious product.
The people in Sucre, inevitably, fell in love with chocolate, and the production methods and recipes were improved continuously. Over time, chocolate became part of the city’s identity. Nowadays, you can find a chocolate store in almost every corner of the city's downtown. As a result, the city was nicknamed "The Chocolate Capital."
The options of traditional and innovative flavors can drive anyone crazy. And, of course, there is an endless variety of chocolates with Bolivian identity ingredients: from amazonian nuts and coca leaves from the tropical lands to quinoa and amaranth from the highlands. You can also find spicy chocolates with ají pepper from the valleys of the country... and even chocolate with salt from the Uyuni Salt Flats!
When it comes to chocolates from Sucre, you might even fall in love with the packaging! Some chocolate boxes are handmade by Bolivian artisans from different regions of the country. For example, some packagings are wooden boxes with Jalka textiles on them, while others are made using banana tree barks.
Finally, if you are a chocolate fan, do not miss out on visiting the Chocolate Museum of Sucre, which belongs to "Para Ti," one of the most well-known chocolate brands of the country. In this charming place, you will be able to learn about the cacao harvesting and chocolate production in Bolivia, finishing, of course, with a chocolate tasting!
I should write no more, try a piece of chocolate from Sucre, the capital of chocolate, and let its flavor speak for itself!
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