the Peruvian beans

North of Peru
Las Lomas

Why make our own couverture chocolate?

Our adventure with chocolate began in 2005. Right from the start, we have always tried to obtain the best quality product. To be able to guarantee this, the selection of the basic products is the first and most important step. We have always worked with Grand Cru chocolates such as Maracaibo and Criolait, which are high quality chocolates. But by creating our own couverture chocolate, we want to take another step that's close to our hearts.

We want to give priority to human contact, from the beginning of the chain to the last link, from the planter to the customer. There are two extremes in the world of chocolate: the grower in tropical regions and the consumer in industrialised countries. We wanted to link them in the best possible way.

without the growers, us chocolate maker are nothing  


exceptional beans


A Peruvian adventure

The book that tells the story of our Las Lomas chocolate

When we decided to create our own chocolate, we set out some requirements that are very close to our hearts:

-Organic plantations that respect nature

-Rare and exceptional cacao beans

-Few intermediaries, or none at all, and a selling price that meets the real-life needs of the planters

-A politically stable country, direct assistance for the planters, no abusive child

on the spot 

We land in Piura, a small town in northern Peru. We meet Jan, a bean researcher, who guides us through the various planters' villages. He has been involved in the development of the region for several years. He also helps the various local communities by providing advice and financial support for development projects.

We meet the company responsible for exports, an important pillar of the region's development. It works with cocoa, coffee and cane sugar. Its work is important for reasons of control, quality and support for various local associations. They are able to help growers with their day-to-day problems, such as the formalities involved in obtaining the organic label (most growers are illiterate), the manufacture of organic fertilisers, and the entire production chain: harvesting, fermentation, drying and transport.


To our European eyes, their organisation remains relative, but the monitoring is regular. The growers are proud to show us their work, their harvest, and the progress they have made year on year, thanks to the support of the whole team.

The women have even managed to set up their own small organic fertiliser business. And in what is, after all, a rather macho country, they sell their produce to their husbands so that they can fertilise their cocoa fields.

We see this as a fine example of sustainability and openness.



the plant
Porcelana de Piura

Theobroma Cacao

Variety: Porcelana de Piura

This very rare plant grows in the north-east of Peru, close to the border with Ecuador.

The region is known as Las Lomas, which means “the hills”.

An extraordinary feature of this cacao bean is that it is white, not purple. After pollination, both white and purple beans appear in the same pod.


As part of the labelling process, a bean must have been grown organically for 3 consecutive years before it can be considered organic. Regular, unannounced checks are carried out in the fields throughout the duration of the plantation's operation. The label can be withdrawn at any time.

As far as our approach is concerned, organic is not enough for us. We select only the best beans for our production. We leave over-ripe, badly dried or badly fermented beans for customers who prefer to look at price rather than quality. Porcelana de Piura" beans are native to this region of Peru. A large proportion of these beans are white instead of purple like all the other beans in the world. It has an exceptionally fruity taste. We require plantations whose cocoa trees produce a minimum of 50% white beans.


the cost

An approach like ours, with its demanding social and quality criteria, comes at a price, but it's worth it.

We believe that the current exploitation of small producers in developing countries is unacceptable. We believe that guaranteeing a fair income for growers goes without saying. So we don't just want to make an effort like some fair trade companies, or base our prices on world prices, but guarantee them a fair price in all circumstances.



Every stage is important, and rain at the wrong time or extreme heat can wipe out a production of fine cocoa.
It is never easy, even with the best will in the world, to ensure that each fruit reaches maturity with the best quality.
That's why a rigorous selection process is carried out after each of the stages listed below.

the nursery

It is at this stage that the future cocoa trees are created and bred. Selection takes place over several years. The best plants are selected, those that produce the most white beans. Some of the planters work regularly at the nursery and receive a quantity of plants free of charge, in proportion to the size of their plantation.


the plantations


The growers are regularly monitored by Jan or an export manager, who help them to solve the various problems they encounter.


It takes 3 years for the trees to produce their first fruit.
So you have to plant something else in between to make a living.
It then takes 3 years of production before you can be certified organic.
During this period, the harvest can be sold, at a lower price, but sold.
The cocoa tree has to grow in the shade of taller trees, but it still has to get some sun.
Trees such as red cedar or teak are recommended for shade. They will be felled and sold in 25 or 30 years' time. This way, when they retire, the planters will earn enough to live a little better. It's a way of helping them in the long term.
Cocoa trees need good irrigation, which is the biggest financial investment.
The climate is important: not too hot, not too cold, not too much water...
The cocoa tree is a very fragile tree that requires a lot of care and love.

The harvest

Although the greater part of the harvest is carried out in January and February, the tree bears fruit throughout the year.

The cacao tree can support both ripe fruit and flowers at the same time.

Fermentation lasts between five and seven days.

The temperature inside the crates can rise up to 50 degrees.

The beans are stirred regularly.

This is an important part of producing quality chocolate



Fermentation takes place in the village. Each grower brings his beans to the sorting centre. They are first weighed, then fermented in different bins depending on their quality.


Fermentation lasts 5 to 7 days
Only an expert eye can judge whether the bean is sufficiently fermented
The beans are stirred regularly every 2 days, to ensure even fermentation
The temperature inside the vats can reach 45 degrees.
The characteristic smell is incredibly strong

Dipping your hands into a fermentation vat is surprising.
First of all, the sticky taste of the juices that stick to your skin, then the intense heat that reigns in the centre.



The beans must be kept away from direct sunlight and rain while they dry.

Stirring the beans regularly is important at this stage, too, as it allows them to dry evenly.

Beans that do not dry properly are liable to rot on the journey to Europe.

Each step is important and requires considerable care.



the export

The various batches of beans arrive in jute sacks and undergo a final check before their long journey to Switzerland.

Each bag is examined according to a number of criteria:

Batch quality
Percentage of white beans
Organic label
Taste: aroma, acidity, astringency, etc.

Once they have passed this check, the beans, bearing their respective labels, are sent by container to Europe.

Arrival in Switzerland

After transiting through the port of Rotterdam, the cacao beans arrive at the Felchlin chocolate company in the canton of Schwyz, Switzerland.

The quality of Felchlin’s work and their expertise in the field of chocolate-making have been proven time and again. The professionalism of the company’s employees and its constant quest for perfection have made it a gold standard in the chocolate industry. For us, working with Felchlin was the natural thing to do.

the organic

Our company works with organic ingredients, but is not certified as an organic company. This is why we cannot communicate it in the form of a label. However, on all our products an asterisk indicates that each ingredient is organically produced.

It may seem astonishing to go to the ends of the earth to find the organic beans we need and demand impeccable quality, but not to promote it with a label.

But we made this choice for several reasons:

Certifying the company requires a great deal of administration
The process is expensive
Being certified restricts recipe freedom when a new magic ingredient is not authorised because it does not have a label.
We want to be able to choose trusted, local producers whenever possible, rather than systematically choosing a producer with a label who is far away.
Our neighbour in Lens grows her own saffron and, like many small local producers, a label is not her priority. Her saffron is of the highest quality and we know how well it is grown.

 after the beans,
the other ingredients


  1. Composition

    The ingredients

    We believe that choosing the best ingredients available is a mark of quality. All our ingredients are certified organic.

    The cacao beans are harvested in three different villages in the Las Lomas region in northern Piura, Peru.

    The organic cacao butter comes from the Dominican Republic, the raw cane sugar is South American, and the milk powder is from the mountains of Switzerland.



  1. Cocoa butter

    Cocoa butter is the most expensive fat. Its price often encourages manufacturers to replace it with vegetable oils.

    We have chosen our cocoa butter from the Dominican Republic. It's the only certified organic cocoa butter on the market today.

  2. Sugar

    For its natural, exotic taste, we've chosen organic cane sugar from South America.

    You'll find its characteristic light molasses taste in Las Lomas 42%.

  3. Milk

    Of course, the milk comes from our Swiss mountains, in the form of organic whole milk powder.

    We have to use milk powder because you can't mix liquid milk directly into a chocolate. That would make it hard and inedible.


the various stages
of development


  1. Factoring

    On arrival, the beans are quickly steamed to exclude any microbiological problems or impurities, insects, etc...

  2. The roasting process

    They are then roasted evenly, at a low temperature, to avoid any loss of quality.

  3. The grinding process

    The beans are ground in three stages to a thickness of just one micron, giving the chocolate an incomparable smoothness.

  4. the round conch

    The mixture is mixed in the conche. In a round conche for milk chocolate. The round conche ensures that the chocolate mass does not rise too high in temperature, and prevents the milk powder from caramelising.

the longitudinal



  1. The conching process

    A round conche is used for conching milk chocolate. This prevents the milk from caramelising during this process.

    For dark chocolate, a longitudinal conche is used. As the hours pass, the flavours in the chocolate unfold, and after 72 hours they are fully developed.

  2. It was an exciting time, with each time slot bringing its own discoveries, of which here are the main ones:

    After 24 hours, we're in the middle of the forest, fruity, woody, completely wild...
    After 48 hours, the passion fruit, an incredible moment...
    After 60 hours, the passion fruit fades, giving way to a fuller body.
    After 72 hours, the fruit remains, delicate, the roundness expresses itself, this chocolate will be perfect to accompany our assortment.

thank you


To our customers for their loyalty, and for always being so supportive and encouraging.

To our friends, the planters of the Las Lomas region, for their work, their kindness and their warm welcome.

To Jan for his devotion, his valuable guidance, and for supervising purchases on site.

To Max Felchlin AG for believing in us and allowing us to pursue our dream.