In January, Michael Sacco (ChocoSol Founder) and Chrystal Porter (ChocoSol Head Chef) travelled to Southern Mexico as part of our commitment to horizontal trade and to our learning community. Here are some highlights from their time spent in Mexico.
Photo above: Michael Sacco (left) and one of our cacao producers Don Flor (right) in the Lacondon Jungle
Horizontal trade means reciprocity-based relationships based on direct trade. It is about embodying best practices at home and abroad, and striving to do our best with the resources and the vision that we have, not for someone else but by example, and in partnership with them.
Photo above: Friend & tejatera Gloria Cruz Sanchez (left) taught Chrystal (right) how to grind cacao using a traditional metate y mano. This important cooking tool is used for making chocolate and salsas, and also for grinding corn.
Photo above: Jaguar cacao pods and Jaguar cacao beans
Phase 2 of forest garden regeneration in Oaxaca’s forest gardens will include this ancient native variety of white cacao that we re-discovered and are building a regeneration project around at this very moment. Phase 1 of regenerating the jaguar cacao was so successful as to over supply our demand and so now we must work on the polyculture diversification of the forest gardens with this amazing Chinantec community. The jaguar cacao is used to make ChocoSol’s unique & rare ‘white’ chocolate (a.k.a., Jaguar Chocolate).
Photo above: Cooking nixtamalized corn/maize that will eventually be ground into fresh masa (corn dough) for making tortillas.
The nixtamalization process of maize is a technique of soaking and cooking corn kernels in an alkaline solution. It was designed by the ancients to make maize more nutritious and 70% more digestible. Without it, your maize masa will not be right!