Pure Nacional Cacao made into chocolate is named Fortunato No. 4. The name honors the Peruvian farmer Fortunato, pictured here. The mother tree of the rare Pure Nacional cacao trees is growing on his Marañón Canyon farm. The number 4 recognizes the 4th USDA genetics sample tested, which formally represents the rediscovery of Pure Nacional. The mother tree has identical DNA to the baseline Pure Nacional in the 5,300 entry international cacao data base. With 40% white beans, it is the only one of its kind in the database. Her children and grandchildren trees, live on Fortunato’s farm and on other farms in the Marañón Canyon.
While Chasing Chocolate, we visited the mother tree on Fortunato’s farm. Clones from the mother, children, and grandchildren trees, grow in our nursery. Out of respect for and in the thrill of the moment, we all kissed the mother tree, Paul Edward did it best. We brought new cacao collecting bags and machetes to exchange for old ones which became prized souvenirs.
Fortunato makes pure sugar from raw sugar cane. The horse supplies the power to grind the juice from the cane, which is cooked over a wood fire. Fortunato stirs the liquid sugar while it cools, then loads the sugar into a wood carrying container. He pours the liquid sugar cane into wooden molds. The finished solid sugar cane is remarkably delicious.