Fair trade co-development begins right in the heart of the cocoa plantation, between the cocoa farmers and Valrhona. Every effort is made to improve the respect of social, environmental and economic conditions.
This partnership is illustrated by three key pillars:
1- A commitment to strict terms and conditions as regards the cocoa farmers with whom we work directly (including exclusivity of certain plantations, fixed prices and guaranteed volume)
2- Long-term relations that enable us to provide the producers with a steady income and guaranteed profitability. In return, Valrhona obtains a strong commitment to the proven farming methods that guarantee fine cocoa of exceptional quality.
3- The provision by Valrhona of developed techniques that have been proven throughout its experience (such as the search for new sources and fermentation) that enable producers to enhance their land.
In order to further progress with our knowledge of the cocoa, Valrhona bought its first plantation El Pedregal in Venezuela 20 years ago, followed more recently in 2011 by Loma Sotavento in the Dominican Republic. For Valrhona, these company-owned plantations are living laboratories for research and exploration on several levels; they contribute to significant progress in certain crucial stages of the development of aromatic characteristics, such as fermentation and drying.
They help us in our experiments into responsible and sustainable farming. Valrhona works together with local experts to convert plantations into natural botanic gardens that create a new balance between the flora and its ecosystem.
El Pedregal plantation has enabled us to develop a vintage estate grown chocolate, with unrivalled delicacy: Porcelana El Pedregal (available November 2011)
Just like a fine vintage wine, the estate grown chocolates are the fruit of the yearly harvest of a single plantation, and the passion of a cocoa farmer. Each vintage thus offers you the opportunity to discover new facets of its personality. Valrhona also invites you to taste these vintage chocolates with unique and outstanding aromatic characteristics, Palmira from Venezuela, Gran Couva from Trinidad and Ampamakia from Madagascar.
Three years ago, an ambitious and highly innovative project was founded in Venezuela, called the Cambios project. It focuses on the principles of sustainable, quality cocoa farming, respectful both of the environment and people, focused on the preservation of a dying variety, Porcelana. It involves, among other things, the creation of biodiversity corridors within the plantation itself, up keeping the cocoa plantations in the manner of forests, and planting other crops so that the local population has another income and training.