Mó Acá In
29 Oct, 2018 | Josephine Zavaglia
Photo: Adriana L. Murillo
Bolivia’s wild cocoa is of the finest quality and flavour
Bolivian chocolate producer Mó Acá In, is reclaiming the country’s world-class cocoa for Bolivia. ‘It is a first-category cocoa that has won prizes in the Salon du Chocolat in Paris,’ says Veronica Hevia y Vaca, co-founder of Mó Acá In.
These cocoa plants are truly a gift from nature. Growing wildly along river banks in remote areas of the Amazon rainforest, they have experienced almost no human intervention. ‘It is wild cocoa and that is what gives it its richness, flavour and delicacy,’ José Guillermo Campos says, who is the other half of the husband-and-wife team who founded Mó Acá In.
European brands have long known about the top-tier quality of Bolivia’s wild cocoa plants. ‘These [European] companies come and take all of it to make [chocolate for] Swiss and Belgium chocolate companies,’ Hevia y Vaca says. ‘This is exactly what the work of Mó Acá In is changing. ‘Bolivians have the right to taste and appreciate their great chocolate…[so] this chocolate [and cocoa] has to stay here,’ she adds.
Growing wildly along river banks in remote areas of the Amazon rainforest, these cocoa plants have experienced almost no human intervention.
Reaching the areas of the Amazon where this cocoa grows, however, is not for the faint-hearted. ‘It is an interesting journey, but it is also a hard journey,’ Hevia y Vaca says, which is why Mó Acá In is collaborating with Helvetas, a Swiss NGO that provides technology and education to Bolivian cocoa farmers. The two are working together to create stronger relationships with the families of the region, ensuring greater sustainability for all of the parties involved.
‘I was really interested in supporting the wild cocoa as well as supporting the families and creating a connection with them. This way they wouldn’t fail in having cocoa for us and we wouldn’t fail in buying it from them,’ Hevia y Vaca says. ‘We need each other.’
Mó Acá In has sponsored schools and football fields in the area to support local communities and show the company’s gratitude for the region’s fine quality product. Their name means ‘House of the Amazon’ in Chimane, the language of the Tsimane people, one of the indigenous groups that resides in the cocoa-producing region. ‘To honour them for the grand quality of their chocolate,’ Campos says, ‘we named ourselves – Mó Acá In – in their language.’
Campos, worked for many years in Italy as the chief chemist of the chocolate company Ferrero, but it was always his dream to do something in Bolivia with Bolivian products. The delights on offer at Mó Acá In are a celebration of the exquisite flavours that can be found in Bolivia: chocolates with maracuya from the Amazon rainforest, coffee from the Yungas and even salt from the salt flats of Uyuni.
‘We work with everything that is Bolivian… [and] we’re very proud of showing how everything can be done in the country,’ says Hevia y Vaca.
‘We work with everything in Bolivia… and we’re very proud of showing how everything can be done in the country.’
—Verónica Hevia y Vaca, Co-founder of Mó Acá In
Mó Acá In has big plans for the future, including exporting their products to Europe and combining cocoa production with bird-watching tours, to create a kind-of ‘chocolate route’ for tourists through the Bolivian jungle.
Much can be said about Mó Acá In, but really their chocolates scrumptiously speak for themselves. To take part in the flavourful experience, make your way to Calle 15 in Calacoto and visit their shop inside the entrance of the Ketal supermarket.
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