On 28 January 2012, a group of chocolate makers, chocolatiers, tasters, writers, cacao growers and independents gathered on Soldier’s Beach, Guanaja, where local legend has it that Christopher Colombus made the first European landing in Central America. Here were planted two ‘criollo antiguo’ cacao trees, identified as genetically similar to samples found in ancient Mayan pots.

Direct Cacao founders assembled on Soldier’s Beach, Guanaja

At a small ceremony, the following declaration was made and signed by the names below:


Planting ‘criollo antiguo’ on Soldier’s Beach

We, the undersigned chocolate makers, chocolatiers, cacao growers, writers and tasters, gathered here at the first point of the first European contact with cacao on the island of Guanaja, declare our intention and desire to reverse 510 years of neglect and disregard for the flavour quality of cacao.

We declare that this precious resource, which brings pleasure to so many, should not be treated as a mere commodity and that the work of those who grow cacao, without whom there would be no chocolate, should be given its due respect and value. We declare that we will work and strive for the recovery of heritage cacao and to preserve and protect this valuable resource.


Direct Cacao declaration

Direct Cacao declaration

Susana Cardenas, Seventy%, UK
Martin Christy, Seventy%, UK
Hervé Fleisch, Xoco Fine Cocoa Company, Honduras
Mikkel Friis-Holm, Friis-Holm, Denmark
Gary Guittard, Guittard, USA
Frank Homann, Xoco Fine Cocoa Company, Honduras
Kate Johns, Chocolate Week, UK
Monica Meschini, Independent expert, Italy
Juan Francisco Mollinedo, Cacaos de Mesoamerica, S.A, Guatemala
Franck Morin, Chocolaterie Morin, France
Santiago Peralta, Pacari Chocolate, Ecuador
Art Pollard, Amano, USA
David Posadas, Xoco Fine Cocoa Company, Honduras
Maricel E. Presilla, Cacao Trader, Author, USA
Alexander Rast, Consultant Reviewer, Seventy%, UK
Duffy Sheardown, Red Star Chocolate, UK
Paul Young, Paul A Young Fine Chocolates, UK
Eskil Villareal Berger, Xoco Fine Cocoa Company, Honduras

The launch event and cacao tree planting were hosted and sponsored by Xoco Fine Cocoa Company, to whom we owe great thanks. Xoco Fine Cocoa Company share the goals of Direct Cacao and are a founding member. Direct Cacao will be a fully independent organisation run by and for its members.