milk sourced at origin for chocolate

a group of chocolatiers and pastry chef making their way through Andean dairylands

What grows together goes together, as the old adage goes.

When bean-to-bar origin-made chocolate companies source all of their ingredients from the country of origin, you can expect a fresh, delicious product that helps support multiple communities in that country. While in Ecuador I got to visit a dairy farming community in the village of Turucucho, in the mist-enrobed Andes.

Two Ecuadorian women wearing hats and laughing
dairy cows in the Ecuadorian Andes with a sweet dog
dairy cows in the Ecuadorian Andes with a milk pail
Bull at Ecuadorian milking farm

The cows, mainly a mix of Holsteins and Swiss Browns, are purely grass-fed, grazing in open fields on a varied diet of grasses, flowers and herbs that make for rich, fatty, flavorful milk.

Grasses and leaves from ecuador

The cows are hand-milked twice a day in the field, gathering and waiting patiently for their turn. The milk is collected by the bucketful into a milk can, and transported to the nearby collection center in the village.

cow being milked in the Ecuadorian Andes

Since the cows are freely roaming in a field and not penned up in a barn, their back legs are tied so they don’t decide to take a stroll while they are being milked. This does not hurt the cows, they looked calm as they stood and chewed their cud or grazed while they were milked with swift, deft hands.

Woman and horse carrying milk pails

Most of the milk arrives by horseback or motorbike, and sometimes by pickup truck.

milk being delivered to the village collection site in the Ecuadorian Andes

Each can of milk is tested for contaminants before it is accepted and added to the collective vat. The flavor is rich and earthy, and used in milk and cocoa-butter white chocolates.

Ecuadorian women and milk pails
Farm in the Ecuadorian andes

The pure quality of the milk matches the beauty of the surroundings.

View of the mountains from Ecuadorian farm
Ecuadorian mountainside covered in fog
Man riding a horse in ecuador
milk can in front of houses in a dairy farming village in the Ecuadorian Andes

Learn more here