Location: San Francisco de Macoris, Cibao, Dominican Republic
Tasting Notes: Plum, Molasses, Spice
Varieties: Trinitario, Forastero, Criollo
Fermentation Style: 2-2-1-1
Drying Style: In solar tunnels. On mesh tables for 4 days, and cement for 3 days
Elevation: 300 - 1200 feet
Microclimate: Wet broadleaf forest type; humid, wet climate. Rainfall is higher than 10 ft per year
Harvest Season: April - June
Zorzal Cacao is an agroforestry project of Reserva Zorzal -- a 1,019-acre private bird sanctuary and 130-acre organic cacao demonstration farm in the northern mountains of the Dominican Republic. Reserva Zorzal sets aside seventy percent of its land to be forever wild and is committed to reducing climate change through a collaborative approach to conservation and reforestation. They are part of a carbon-offset project with thirteen other landowners, employ wildlife monitors in the community, and serve as a model for the integration of conservation and sustainable agroforestry development. Zorzal is the Spanish word for “thrush” and refers to the Bicknell’s Thrush, a rare, migratory songbird that winters in the tropical forests of the preserve.
One of the sanctuary’s founders, Dr. Charles Kerchner, runs Zorzal Cacao in line with the overall vision of Reserva Zorzal. They also grow macadamia, banana and other foods suitable for sustainable production in a tropical agroforestry system. Zorzal Cacao selects and grafts it’s own cacao trees with cacao varietals specifically chosen for the fine flavor chocolate market. The trees are shade-grown to promote wildlife habitat and biodiversity. Zoral Cacao will also source cocoa from neighboring farmers who are like minded and take part in the conservation project.