Founded in 1660, Hacienda Chuao, located in a coastal town in the state of Aragua, is the oldest still operating company antigua from Venezuela. One of the best cocoas in the world is produced in this valley populated by native black descendants of slaves for almost 400 years.
Hacienda Chuao is located in the Chuao Valley, in the Venezuelan coastal mountain range, characterized by its cloud forests.
The 200 hectares of this cocoa plantation, which are distributed in a rectangular strip from north to south from the beach to the foothills, from 200 to 400 meters above sea level where it enters the Henri Pittier National Park, is owned by the local community, but are currently worked by the Chuao Peasant Company.
This society, made up of more than 100 farmers, is in charge of the cocoa trees and the final product for sale. It carries out the work of collecting, drying and fermenting the grains of this fruit and makes the butter and cocoa beans in an artisanal way.
Regarding the export of this fruit, it is the company Chuao Trading, in alliance with the Chuao Peasant Company, responsible for this work.
For more than 400 years, Hacienda Chuao has been continuously productive, preserving its traditional form of production with infrastructure inherited from the colony, such as the old drying floor, its irrigation system and the same species of trees used to give shade to plantations.
In 1591 the Kingdom of Spain entrusted Cristobal Mexía de Ávila with the lands of the Chuao and Zepecurinare Valleys, starting the cocoa farm. Some time later, in 1633, Mexía de Ávila decided to pass this encomienda into the hands of his daughter Catalina Mexía de Liendo, married to Pedro de Liendo.
More than a decade later, in 1649 the territory of the Chuao Valley was demarcated and handed over to the indigenous people who inhabit these lands, who claimed old cacao trees as their property, a territory located in a place called Puente Quemao.
Years later, in 1671, Catalina Mexía de Liendo expressed in a will, which included protection clauses for her slaves, her wish that the Chuao Hacienda not be sold and that it be preserved and remain for the church.
Hacienda Chuao is currently on the list of nominations in Venezuela to be considered a World Heritage Site by the Unesco.
For UNESCO, the Hacienda Chuao has great importance in the historical process of the societies of northern South America, both for the productive activity around cocoa and for the social life of this population of more than 2.000 inhabitants.
The church, built in 1785 to replace the chapel that existed in the same place; the Casa del Alto, former Casa del Cerro or administrator's house, built in 1652; the patio where cocoa is dried, located in the center of the town; and the Cruz del Perdón, are some of the historical monuments that characterize this place.
Cocoa from Hacienda Chuao
The cocoa produced at Hacienda Chuao, which has a certificate of origin, is recognized as one of the the best in the Premium category. Fine in aroma, it belongs to the Trinitario cocoa variety, a mix between Criollo and Forastero cocoa.
The altitude, temperature, humidity and climate of the Chuao Valley provide the cocoa that comes from its lands with a unique flavor of nuts and a marked aroma with an essence of wood, which makes it one of the most demanded by the best chocolatiers in the world.
For example, the quality of the Chuao cocoa has allowed the Peasant cooperative to negotiate a supply agreement for this fruit with the Italian company Amedei, whose award-winning bars include dark chocolate. wow.