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Zorzal Cacao is a leading provider of fine flavor cacao to domestic and international artisan bean-to-bar chocolate makers. They provide the craft chocolate market with cacao varietals selected for their nuanced flavors and intense aromas, carefully tending to the development of these flavors through natural fermentation and drying cycles.

Zorzal Cacao believes great things come from chocolate. From 1,019 acre bird sanctuary in the northern mountains of the Dominican Republic, they produce fine flavored, organic cacao while creating conservation solutions across hemispheres. An expression of their vision is a rare migratory songbird called Bicknell’s Thrush. Zorzal is the Spanish word for “thrush.”

Conservation

Seventy percent of the land on the bird sanctuary, Reserva Zorzal, is set aside to be forever wild. As the Dominican Republic’s first private preserve, Zorzal is a model for other landowners working towards landscape-level conservation and greater access to global markets.

Post-harvest Handling

Zorzal Cacao strives to pick each cacao pod at its optimal ripeness, removing any diseased, damaged or over-ripe fruit. The beans are then coaxed from their pods and brought to our Fermentorium where their master fermenter, Heriberto Paredes, nurtures the cacao through a process of natural fermentation and drying cycles to elicit the nuanced flavor profiles found in the high mountain rainforests of the Dominican Republic.

Community

Zorzal Cacao is dedicated to elevating communities in the Dominican Republic. They do this by creating jobs in wildlife monitoring, offering education services and employment on Reserva Zorzal and Zorzal’s Fermentorium, boosting incomes with reforestation payments, and supporting neighboring farms with best practices to garner higher prices for their product.

Reserva Priada Zorzal

Zorzal Cacao is working hard to preserve biodiversity on the 1,019 acre Reserva Zorzal. What it lacks in color, the thrush more than compensates in conservation value. By migrating annually between the Dominican Republic and North America, this endangered species establishes a conservation link across hemispheres. The company works to strengthen that link by uniting farmers, governments, scientists, non-profits, chocolate producers and investors behind cacao production and habitat protection for the Bicknell’s Thrush in the tropics as well as in the United States and Canada. It turns out that chocolate, a culinary force in its own right, can also be a force for international conservation!

Reserva Privada Zorzal is situated in the Duarte province, in the very heart of the Dominican Republic’s cacao-producing zone. Zorzal Cacao has a long term partnership with the owners of Reserva Privada Zorzal to provide economically meaningful and ecosystem strengthening activities, including the planting of diverse tree species. The owners of Reserva Privada Zorzal, some of whom are also investors in Zorzal Cacao, have set aside 70% of this reserve be ‘forever wild’. Given the scarcity of public funds for financing conservation, they're demonstrating how the private sector can become partners in sustainable cocoa production, and habitat protection for birds and other wildlife. Reserva Privada Zorzal is honored to be the Dominican Republic’s first private reserve establishing a model for private landowners to participate in the landscape-level conservation. On the reserve, they’re demonstrating to the world that they can grow cacao and safeguard biodiversity.

One of our Zorzal Comunitario partners, Dr. Enmanuel Camilo, also committed to designate over 865 acres as the second Private Reserve in the Dominican Republic.  This has expanded the Private Reserve network in the Duarte Province to 2,000 acres!

Plan Vivo Carbon Offsets

To expand conservation efforts, Reserva Zorzal partnered with Loma Quita Espuela Foundation and Consorcio Ambiental Dominicano on reforestation and habitat restoration efforts in between three Scientific Reserves – Guaconejo, Quita Espuela, and Salcedoa. The project is being third party verified and is listed under the international standard called Plan Vivo. To date, the project includes fifteen landowners who have reforested 198 acres with native tree species for Bicknell’s thrush habitat and biodiversity restoration.

The unique and novel aspect of the Plan Vivo certificates is that it links farmers in the Cordillera Septentrional to chocolate companies in the procurement chain who are willing to invest in restoration activities. The chocolate makers who buy Zorzal cacao are willing to pay an additional value for each pound of cacao to invest in Plan Vivo reforestation efforts.

Chocolate makers that are using the beans 

Raaka Chocolate (USA)

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