Peru produces some excellent cacao with a wide range of flavors, from delicate floral to intensely wood and cinnamon to sweet caramel and banana. Makers around the country are using high-quality beans to make both pure dark bars and bars featuring local inclusions.
Based in Lima, Peru, Cacaosuyo makes bean-to-bar chocolate with beans from different regions of the country.
Piura Select 70%
Aroma: astringent, creamy, wintergreen
Flavor: weak coffee, kind of sour Lots of higher flavor notes, some sourness, some earthy flavors, red wine, tangy, astringent, lime zest, woody tannins, citrus, back of throat bite
Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. A range of pleasant flavors but the astringency detracts a little bit.
Batch info: Lot PS-090719. Production date: September 12, 2019; Best by September 12, 2021
Based in Peru, Kuyay makes chocolate with beans from their 10-hectare cocoa farm. The farm has 135 varieties of fine flavor native cacao that are made into micro batches of chocolate, preserving the unique flavor of the distinct varieties.
Jahuanga/Bagua Grande, Amazonas 80%
Aroma: earthy, cocoa powder, peas
Flavor: Mellow. Brazil nuts, peas, red wine (faint), starchy. Very little bitterness or astringency, not acidic. No burned or moldy flavors. Not a lot of complexity.
Recommendation: Recommended with reservations, if you are specifically looking for bars made in Peru you might like trying it. It’s not bad, and it’s nice to try bars made in the country of origin. But it’s…odd. This is the only bar I have tried from Kuyay, but I think there are much tastier Peru bars available, such as Maraná and Q'uma if you want bars made in Peru, and Qantu, Goodnow Farms, and Stonegrindz if you are interested in Peruvian cacao generally.
Batch info: Lot MT002-2020; Best by April 28, 2022
Maraná is a bean to bar maker based in Lima, Peru. Peru has a long history of cacao cultivation, so it is exciting to see more locally produced single origin bars. For each of three regions - Piura, Cusco, and San Martín - Maraná makes a range of dark and milk bars.
Perú - Piura 70%
Aroma: fresh cut wood, rich chocolate, dried raspberries, starchy
Flavor: little bit of a seed/unroasted nut flavor, raspberries, some yellow fruit sourness, orange candy, honey, a little bit starchy, like biscuits, grape, cocoa powder (dusty)
Recommendation: Recommended. It’s good but something tastes slightly unrefined.
Batch info: Expiration date: November 2020, Lot no. 306
Based in Peru, Q'uma works directly with Peruvian cacao farmers to source organic fine flavor cacao and make it into single-origin bars. They make several inclusion bars featuring Peruvian ingredients as well - Maras Salt, Golden Berries, and Quinoa.
Aroma: rich aroma, maple syrup, roasted grains, tangy – cheesecake, umami
Flavor: very fermenty, like very ripe dried fruit or very ripe avocado, meaty, soft fruity flavors – orange, strawberries and cream, cacao nibs – a very whole, rich, unprocessed, cacao flavor. Balsamic vinegar reduction, wood.
Recommendation: Recommended. This bar surprised me at first with the intensity of the fermented and earthy flavors, but the more I ate the more I liked it. Q’uma did a beautiful job of showcasing the cacao itself. Some similarities to Manoa and Cacaoteca – all have intense, fermented, pure cacao flavors.
Batch info: Lot 01007-19; Exp. November 11, 2020