Caputo's Market and Deli located in SLC, UT, is a specialty food market and deli, focused on protecting and preserving the food traditions of the world's collective ancestors. The Caputo's are the largest supporter of the HCP, donating the proceeds of their annual Chocolate Fest since 2013.
Caputo’s Market and Luisa Abram Chocolate are launching a collaborative chocolate bar using a unique strain of unfarmed cacao (not found anywhere else in the world) from Brazil’s Jurua region in the upper Amazonian jungle, paid for pre-harvest by Caputo’s. The prepayment investment provides the foragers with the means necessary to harvest and process the wild cacao, build their own fermentary, and allows Luisa Abram to transform the cacao into chocolate. The entire US allocation of wild Jurua beans will be branded as the Caputo’s Wild Jurua 70% bar, and will be the only way US consumers can experience this exceptionally rare cacao. The companies are also planning “Amazon Camp,” an opportunity for Caputo’s crew members to visit the areas in Brazil in which cacao is harvested and see for themselves the challenges involved.
Biodiversity, craftsmanship, and sustainability suffer when large scale chocolate makers take the lead. The effects of Covid 19 have only exacerbated the problem; during the beginning of the pandemic Luisa Abram's father Andre told Matt Caputo that his favorite bar, Jurua 70%, would be permanently discontinued. This bar was made with a genetic strain of wild cacao that only grows along the banks of the Jurua River in Brazil's Upper Amazon. He explained the mounting challenges and financial burden of foraging for and processing this incredibly unique cacao (in the world's most remote jungle) made it impossible to continue.
Matt states: “As Andre explained their challenges, I...realized that any hope of making this wild crop economically viable may take a decade of investment. I knew their company was facing pandemic induced financial challenges and could not shoulder the burden.This is when I knew that despite our own pandemic emergencies, Caputo's could solve this. If we throw out any expectation of profit on this chocolate bar in the near future, we could prepay for the next harvest. Luisa and Caputo's together could make sure the small community in the Jurua had the money and guidance to set up their own fermentary and continue to return to Jurua to harvest this incredible cacao, year after year.” With Caputo’s guaranteed support, Luisa can purchase all of the Jurua cacao the foragers can procure.
The Caputo’s Wild Jurua 70% bar isn’t about seeing a worthy investment return in this generation; it is about ensuring this crown jewel of cacao from the Amazon is protected for future generations. This isn’t the first time Caputo’s has stepped up to invest in an artisan in need; Mesa Farm, a cheesemaker in Southern Utah, credits Caputo’s for their survival through the company’s determined efforts to brand, sell, and support the craftsmanship demonstrated by Mesa Farm. With success stories such as Mesa Farm, one can only assume the new Wild Jurua bar will be around for years to come; and with it, the wild cacao from which it is crafted and the foragers whose livelihood depends on it.
Learn more about the bar and the Caputo's Preservation Program (CPP) on their blog post here.