One taste of the chocolate used by Marchesi 1824 is enough to signal the exceptionally high quality of the rare Bolivian cacao used in its production. With its rich flavour and complex fruit and vanilla notes, it offers a uniquely satisfying blend of taste and texture.
The cacao plant is native to the Americas, and as early as 4,000 years ago, a form of chocolatewas being consumed in pre-Columbian cultures. It was drunk at royal feasts, given to soldiers as a reward for success in battle, and - in perhaps the earliest association between chocolate and romance - used at betrothal and marriage ceremonies.
By grinding the cocoa beans and mixing them with cornmeal and chilli peppers, the Aztecs and Mayans had learned to create a bitter, frothing drink. They believed cacao was a gift from the feathered serpent god known as Quetzalcoatl or Kukulkan, and in fact its Latin name - Theobroma - literally means “food of the gods.” It was a divine bounty that Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortés, in 1519, was happy to include among the treasures he took back to Europe, and drinking chocolate quickly became a sought-after delicacy in the Spanish court.
By the mid-1600s chocolate had begun spreading to the rest of Europe, and during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it passed from being an elite luxury to being the populartreat we all appreciate today.
The Cru Sauvage couverture used by Pasticceria Marchesi is made from the rare wild Criollo Amazonico cacao from the Bolivian lowlands. Here the trees are not cultivated, cut or fertilised, but rather left to grow naturally, just as they did all those millennia ago. Between December and April each year, the ripened fruit is gathered by local Chimane Indians. Usinghorses or dugout canoes, they bring the pods to collection points, where the beans are then fermented and dried in the sun.
The traditional processing method involves 60 hours of gentle “conching” (mixing), which brings out the rich, harmonious chocolate flavour, complemented by fresh citrus aromas, a prune bouquet and note of vanilla. The exceptionally pleasant fruit acidity and long-lasting finish make the Cru Sauvage Bolivia 68% an exquisite ingredient in the gourmet chocolate specialities of Marchesi 1824.