San Martín: Strengthening the Cacao Conservation and Transformation

Gabriela Chire Ph.D. (UNALM) with cacao processing participants at Mishky Cacao's facilities in Chazuta (San Martin).

In the framework of strengthening entrepreneurship in the San Martin region, PERU-Hub together with Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM), trained more than 25 farmers in cacao and chocolate quality.

The theoretical and practical session was led by professor and researcher Gabriela Chire Ph.D., professor at the Food Industries Faculty – UNALM.

Dr. Gabriela is part of the team of cacao specialists at UNALM, who has been contributing to the activities related to identifying the characteristics that define fine cacao in aroma. This work is being developed with the participation of Purdue partners.

The activity, held between June the 26th and 27th, sought that the entrepreneurs (between associations and native communities) learn more about the integral quality of Peruvian cacao, the elaboration of chocolate, as well as the preventive measures for the conservation of its quality.

The event was organized by Mg.Sc. Rossemary Carpio (PERU-Hub Food Transformation Coordinator) and Mg. Julio Noriega (Fruit and Dairy Transformation Specialist) and was held at the Mishky Cacao facilities in Chazuta.

Among the associations and enterprises that participated were: Choco Warmis (San José de Sisa), Fascino (Tarapoto), Mishky Cacao (Chazuta), Allima Cacao (Chazuta), Orquídea (Tarapoto), Pepitas del Cacao (Lamas), and independents.

As an initial phase, the integral quality of cacao was explored more closely, reviewing concepts such as the importance of safety, acidity and the fermentation rate of the bean.

Next, emphasis was placed on chocolate, recognizing its concept according to the Peruvian Technical Standard (NTP) and recalling the role of packaging, as well as the importance of weight and nutritional value.

In addition, theoretical and practical exercises were developed, such as:

  • Defective grains in the post-harvest stage
  • Fermentation kinetics
  • Quality aspects of chocolate: packaging, nutritional information, weight, ingredients.
  • Microbiological and toxicological values
  • Sensory properties
  • Fat efflorescence in chocolate
  • Tempering
  • Sugar efflorescence in chocolate
  • Practical Demonstration of Cacao and Chocolate Quality

As part of Professor Chire’s stay in San Martin, the PERU-Hub/UNALM delegation also visited different commercial establishments such as Fascino, Pepitas de Cacao and Orquídea, in addition to touring the processing plants of Allima and Mishky Cacao.

In this way, the project continues to work hard to achieve its objectives in the region, transferring knowledge and technologies to ensure safe and quality products.