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ExpoAmazonica 2018 Ucayali, Peru

ExpoAmazonica 2018 Ucayali, Peru

Glen recently returned from a week-long adventure in Peru. Equally exhilarated and exhausted from the whirlwind trip, Glen recapped his fact-finding, networking, bean-sourcing South American journey with his characteristic energy, positivity, and enthusiasm.


Peru is considered an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank. It is also one of the world's fastest-growing economies. Peru's economy is defined as emerging and social marketcharacterized by significant and expanding foreign trade.


In this spirit, the annual ExpoAmazonica 2018, now in its second year, is an event intended to connect the supply of producers and artisans, with the growing demand of national and international buyers, entrepreneurs, and private investors.


It is also expected to generate business worth more than $15 million in the short term.


This year's ExpoAmazonica-Ucayali took place in Pucallpa, in San Martín province, along the Ucayali River. One of 10 provinces of the San Martín Region in the north-east jungle of Peru, San Martín province has a varied geography that includes fertile valleys, hilly terrains, Andean plains and a small, low jungle area.


San Martín province is also something of cacao growing powerhouse, responsible for almost 40% of all nationwide exports.



ExpoAmazonica is rather exclusive and by invite only through the Ministry of Commercial Exports & Tourism. Wild Mountain Chocolate was one of only about 65 global businesses in attendance from sectors as varied as the host region's geography. From cacao to coffee to fish and much more it was all about connecting Peruvian producers and exports to the global marketplace.


It was here that Glen enjoyed exceptional Peruvian hospitality as well as a unique opportunity to meet quality cacao vendors – co-ops and farmers – in one place.


Not unlike the other cacao growing regions around the world, much of Peru’s organic cacao is grown by small, often family owned and operated, farms who rely on cacao’s weekly or biweekly harvest as their main source of regular revenue.


The cacao of Peru is considered a rising star on the global stage. The diversity of climate and topography provides conditions that are simply just right for producing some of the most desirable cacao beans in the world. Peruvian cacao is the result of the combined effect of the diversity of species, soils, and climates.


To be on the ground, visiting with producers and their representatives at an event such as this offers bean to bar, artisan chocolate makers like Glen the perfect space to explore suppliers who share a similar philosophy and vision as goes into every Wild Mountain Chocolate product.



Most Peruvian cacao producers are non-GMO and organic simply by default – they can't afford the alternative. The crops have often been grown for generations and fertilized naturally by the midge, a tiny fly, able to fertilize faster than any hummingbird. And, while the growing conditions are by-and-large organic, the organic certification process can be prohibitively expensive for most farmers. 


Glen's experience at the Expo was memorable for many reasons, but a highlight was meeting and chatting briefly with the Minister himself. Additionally, our little chocolate startup was rubbing shoulders with the likes of buying teams from iconic Harrods!


A high point was the experience of sharing Wild Mountain Chocolate with notable chocolate producing invitees. Of particular note was connecting with Adrian Smith of England's award-winning Mortimer Chocolate Co. Mr. Smith, with his significant expertise as a ‘Mars’ trained cocoa taster, tasted our chocolate proclaiming, "some of the best chocolate I've tasted!"


Not knowing what to expect at an event such as this, Glen found the quality and professionalism of the ExpoAmazonica 2018 to equal anything available in North America. Several hundred vendors, a diversity of suppliers, whilst meeting with growers and co-ops sharing similar values, Glen was positive and enthusiastic about the entire experience, not to mention excited to pursue some of the relationships initiated at the Expo.



Glen was simply honoured to have been invited to this tremendous event. Great for the world of chocolate and Wild Mountain, but also incredible for the people, and the cacao growers, of Peru.


He is very much looking forward to his return!