The Dominican Republic

In 2014, ChocoSol began sourcing cacao beans from the Zorzal private reserve in the Dominican Republic. This cacao is grown on a 1,019 acre bird sanctuary and organic cacao demonstration farm in the northern mountain range of the Dominican Republic. A key species of birds that makes use of the sanctuary is the endangered Bicknell’s Thrush (Zorzal de Bicknell), a rare migratory songbird native to Quebec and Vermont. ChocoSol receives carbon credits for purchasing cacao from Zorzal, and we are proud to support the work being done by Zorzal to actively demonstrate a workable model for local communities to improve their farming practices in a way benefits both the communities and the the ecosystems they inhabit. 

Embodying the intercultural and transnationality that is fundamental to ChocoSol, our Bird Sanctuary chocolate celebrates the Bicknell’s thrush migration from the maple forest gardens to Quebec and Vermont to the cacao forest garden of the Dominican Republic. Made with Zorzal cacao and sweetened with Canadian maple sugar, this bar includes a touch of sea salt to represent the ocean passage of the birds. As Zorzal Cacao say, “it turns out that chocolate, a culinary force in its own right, can also be a force for international conservation!”

Nestled in the heart of the cacao rich Duarte province in the Dominican Republic is Öko-Caribe. With more than 50 years of combined experience in cacao, owners Adriano de Jesus Rodriguez and Gualberto Acebey Torrejon have fine-tuned their systems to ensure consistent, superior quality in their production. Öko Caribe maintains close relationships with its 165 farmers through technical training, in agronomic practices and organic certification. In addition, owners Adriano and Gualberto have personal relationships with all farmers, offering microfinance loans for cacao-related expenses, as well as personal loans for family emergencies or other community needs.