What We Do
After years of learning about sustainable farming, cacao fermentation and chocolate making, we are finally bringing our mission and products to Europe. TOW is the original SuperFood chocolate made from the Golden Beans (La Pepa de Oro) - "Antique name of cocoa beans", a native and traditional cacao from coastal Ecuador. We are a group of small family owned farms that re-forest our lands with wood, fruits and bamboo. Our cacao beans are fermented with traditional platano leafs in controlled conditions, and all our beans are sun-dried before they go to the factory. Our mission at Tree of Wisdom Chocolate is to improve the livelihood of small farmers, by producing high quality chocolate bars that will help and support farmers’ income. Different to commercial chocolate products that give on average just 7% of the price of a chocolate bar to the farmer, we have developed different commercial strategies which enable us to give more than 30% of the price of the bars to the cacao producers - leading to a more sustainable and fair supply chain.
The Saneli Platform
As small farmers ourselves we understand the lack of knowledge and income that cacao growers can have. However, thanks to great collaborations around the world we are improving our crops, whilst teaching and training our community in all the required techniques necessary to succeed in their work with cacao crops. Since we began planting our trees in 2009, we have cared about their genetics and the preservation of the native varieties and flavours of the territory. In 2013, our associate brand TOW SUPERFOOD CHOCOLATES (created by Paula and Pedro in Ecuador) started producing small batches of tree to snack artisan cacao nibs and chocolate – demonstrating to the world how partially roasted beans and the right combination of fruits and liquor should taste. The hard work of farmers and chocolate makers involved gave TOW the opportunity to be recognized and receive support from renown chocolate makers in Ecuador and Italy, friends which to this day are supporting us with technical advice and helping us to make a better product for you!
With the help of Patricio, Sandra and Agapo (three micro farmers of the region), throughout 2017 we planted 1600 new plants of an almost extinct cacao variety (Type Criollo and Nacional clones) and we implemented a nursery for 6000 plants of Arriba Cacao (a superb tasty variety of fine and flavour cacao). We have initially started growing our plants directly from the seeds, in order to have a purer variety of National Cacao. Our dream and mission is that this farmers project “Saneli Cooperative Platform” (-0.229293, -79.493592) becomes a main establishment for the cacao community of Manabí, where we can post-harvest the cacao beans whilst training, teaching and recognizing the cacao farmers’ work as a profession. This is to be achieved by having our cacao and chocolate headquarters in Bristol, United Kingdom, (the city of the first dark chocolate bar!) where TOW will be the first direct trade brand between smallholders and the European market. We consider that the only way to fight poverty and to achieve sustainability is by encouraging farming families to become skilled in their industry. The keys steps in achieving this include training colleagues; paying fair wages; paying above 20% more from the market price for fresh cacao beans; and involving local farmers in the professional supply chain of chocolate products.
The Finest Ecuadorian Cacao
As history and science have shown, Ecuador is the origin of Fine & Flavour cacao. There are various types of fine cacao, but their origin is not the whole story. In order to develop different types of flavour and aroma, we have trained and learnt to ferment our beans just like "wine". All our bars are fully charged with regional and technical high quality beans, which we have carefully harvested and sustainably farmed in Ecuador.