Chocolate Purveyors 34- Samir Giha
Chocolate Purveyors is a blog series where we connect and discuss everything chocolate with both makers and enthusiasts. This discussion is with Samir Ghia, co-owner of Cacaosuyo.
“The best-kept secret of the Incas,” made at origin in Peru. Cacaosuyo are chocolate geeks’ elite rockstars. Minimally processed chocolate bars express each Peruvian cacao strain’s genetics in crystal clear surround sound. Their unrivalled attention to detail and direct trade practices are key in improving the lives of producers and preserving rare varietals that would otherwise be lost to more industrial, “productive” strains.
Do you remember your first experience with real chocolate?
The first that I can remember is our Peruvian brand (El Tigre). I am thinking that most chocolate was real when I was a kid. What was it? Milk chocolate that had raisins in it.
What is your current chocolate-making process and how do you highlight the cacao?
We make chocolate like all bean to bar, roasting, winnowing, grinding with sugar, but what makes our chocolate special is what we do before that. We understand that the best chocolate is made with the best cacao, so not only do we select the best cacao we can find, but we do most of our own post harvest and what we don’t do hands on, we supervise directly.
You exclusively work with Peruvian cacao. How would you say it differs from other regions?
We do only use Peruvian cacao and their are very interesting differences between cacaos of different regions of Peru. We are experts in Peruvian cacao and not experts in cacaos from different growing countries, but I personally to enjoy Chocolate from everywhere. I can’t even begin to compare with every other country’s cacao, but as an example I can say that cacao from Peru is on the more fruity side where Venezuelan cacao is more on the nutty side. Neither is better than the other, they are just very different, which makes the world of origin chocolate so amazing to experience.
Before starting Cacaosuyo, what did you do?
I have done too many things, including a career in music and a successful business in producing and exporting garments with awesome Peruvian cotton.
How is the chocolate culture in South America compared to North America?
I can’t speak for all of South America, but in Peru, milk chocolate is the favorite and for Xmas there is always hot chocolate as an integral part of the celebration. It is actually very similar to the US.
What has been your biggest challenge in building Cacaosuyo?
As with most of the craft chocolate brands, selling enough to be able to fund marketing campaigns so that people learn about us.
Photo Credit Cacaosuyo
What chocolate are you eating from other makers these days?
I eat plenty of Cacaosuyo daily so it isn’t that I am looking to eat more, but I love to try new origins that many different chocolate makers put out there. If I mention 3 of my favorite makers, then 3 more friends may feel bad that I didn’t mention theirs and we are friends with mostly all makers in this small world of craft chocolate.
Do you prefer a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate in the morning?
I am like most people accustomed to my coffee, but in the cold winter we usually have a lot of hot chocolate to drink in the factory and that is something I look forward to when I get in every cold day
For someone trying Cacaosuyo for the first time, what chocolate would you give them to try?
I will always offer 3 different origins (70% cacao) because it isn’t about just eating delicious chocolate, it’s about introducing someone to a wonderful new experience.
What does the future hold for Cacaosuyo?
We are hoping to be able to make our bars more available everywhere as a general statement, but we are going to be introducing at least one new native Peruvian origin this year and creating new products that are not precísely a plain bar.
Owners Edward Lanfranco (left) and Samir Giha (right)
Photo Credit Cacaosuyo
We would like to express our appreciation to Samir for generously sharing his insights with us. We hope that you found his interview informative and engaging.
If you're interested in trying Cacaosuyo chocolate for yourself, be sure to visit our online store by following this link. Happy shopping and indulging in delicious chocolates!
To get started with craft chocolate, start with our Kekao Box. We search the world for the finest chocolate bars and bring them right to your doorstep monthly. From rich dark Peruvian chocolate bars to new start-up chocolate bars on the come-up, you never know what you'll get inside the box! Each month we will curate 4 to 5 premium specialty crafted chocolate bars.
If you want to just try a couple of bars, check out our online chocolate store.
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