What makes a chocolate rare?
What makes a chocolate "rare"?
Cacao beans are not rare. Cacao is a global commodity that is traded in quantities of 10 metric tons at a time on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Of course, high quality cacao is not made from commodity cacao.
A company like Uncommon Cacao will import cacao from cooperatives around the world 5-30 metric tons at a time and supply more than 50 small craft chocolate makers in the USA.
High quality craft cacao is the basis for most US makers.
The high quality, transparently traded cacao by Uncommon Cacao is why there is duplication of single origin chocolates among many brands. It is easy for a maker to have access to this amazing cacao.
Some makers trade directly with farmers.
A small number of makers make connections directly with cacao farming cooperatives, and a growing number of chocolate makers are making bars in the country of origin.
When does a chocolate bar become rare?
Makers that work directly with farming cooperatives represent a small percent of the craft chocolate that is already a fraction of a percent of the global market. That already seems rare, but it is common if you know where to shop.
Rare chocolate is ephemeral like a snowflake.
Rare chocolate is made from a single estate instead of a cooperative, or it is product of years of work to create a single batch of chocolate. Like a snowflake, there are plenty of rare chocolates, but each one is unique and may never be tasted again.
Naive Sierra Julián - only 450 bars made
Qantu Don Mazimo's Quest - a single batch from a 6 hectare estate
Belú Tablilla - a single maker in El Salvador imported twice a year
Violet Sky Eternal and Ephemeral - a single special edition inclusion bar