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At Rococo Chocolate, we are thrilled to introduce you to Arriba Nacional, often celebrated as the fourth type of chocolate.

Originating from Ecuador, this exquisite variety boasts a rich heritage and unique flavour profile, making it a must-try for any chocolate aficionado.

In an earlier post, we introduced you to the four main types of cacao. Arriba Nacional is the lesser known of the four.

The Origin of Arriba Nacional

Arriba Nacional is a single-origin dark chocolate, meticulously cultivated by Hacienda Victoria in Ecuador. Known for its purity and exceptional quality, it’s grown free from contamination, preserving the ancient traditions of South American cocoa cultivation.

The term "Arriba" originated from an encounter in the 19th century when farmers transporting cacao sacks with a rich, floral aroma pointed "arriba" (upstream) when asked where the cacao came from.

Challenges and Conservation Efforts

Nacional cacao is recognised for its floral and herbal aromas with hints of tropical fruits.

Unfortunately, its production has declined in the 20th century. The varietal is incredibly fragile and susceptible to diseases and pests, and farmers are increasingly choosing to cultivate other varietals to preserve their yields and livelihoods. 

Much like Criollo, this heirloom varietal showcases incredibly fine flavours that cannot be rivalled by "bulk" varieties of cacao, and, sadly, global buyers are more interested in the cost of the cacao they purchase than in the flavour.


The Chocolate Connoisseur's Cacao of Choice

The flavour profile of the Arriba Nacional, combined with the sustainable farming practices and careful fermentation methods used by Hacienda Victoria, make Arriba Nacional the perfect match for Domori's low intervention processing method.

The result is a chocolate couverture that is suited to a variety of uses, from chocolate thins, to fine ganaches. 

Customers play a crucial role in preserving heirloom varieties by demanding high-quality products made from this cacao.

By making informed choices and advocating for sustainability, customers help ensure the preservation of this unique and heritage-rich cacao for future generations.

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