Panela: The Secret Ingredient
Panela is a traditional, unrefined and organic sugar. Our dark Ecuador 65% chocolate uses panela grown in the jungle near Quito by local sugar cane farmers. The entire production process is completed by hand and (unlike other refined sugars) panela retains all off the natural nutrients, minerals, vitamins and proteins. We are proud that our panela is a 'zero waste' product because any remaining panela fiber is recycled and turned into compost, which is used to fertilize the plantations.
Our panela is grown by small sugar cane farmers in jungle to the west of Quito. The sugar cane is harvested in the jungle before being transported to a small-scale factory located in the plantation itself. The sugar cane is then pressed by hand to extract all of the juice. Once the sugar cane juice is extracted, the remaining fibers, known as ‘bagasse’ are turned into compost.
Meanwhile, the sugar cane juice is poured into large pans and cooked slowly. The juice is cooked and stirred continuously by our ‘paneleros’, this process removes the impurities. As the sugar cane juice cooks, it reaches the maximum level of concentration and what we call the ‘milagro’ occurs - this is the ‘miracle' moment when the panela naturally crystallizes and creates panela sugar.
The rich flavour of our panela complements the final nutty aromas of our dark Ecuador 65% chocolate.