Jordi Roca, the well-known pastry chef from El Celler de Can Roca, has launched his new book “Casa Cacao” in Madrid, co-authored with the food journalist Ignacio Medina. The book describes their journey along several Latin American countries, where they met small producers supported by the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF) in Colombia and Peru. During the book launch, the Director of the publishing imprint Planeta Gastro, Lydia Díaz, explained that Casa Cacao “is a journey of discovery, reflecting the emotions, experiences and lives of many people in tucked-away places who are innovating with cacao”.
‘Casa Cacao’ is a journey of discovery, reflecting the emotions, experiences and lives of many people in tucked-away places who are innovating with cacao”.
Take Exelino Sierra, for instance: a Colombian entrepreneur who, tired of working illegally, was able to swap his coca plantation over to growing cacao, thanks to the Foundation. While Óscar Velásquez in Peru, is helping other small producers like himself to switch from rice paddy fields to much more sustainable local crops, all with the support of BBVAMF.
Jordi Roca and Ignacio Medina’s trip to the Amazon began a year ago, when they started researching cacao in all its forms. Aside from Colombia and Peru, the Celler de Can Roca pastry chef and the food journalist also travelled to Ecuador. Jordi plans to establish ongoing relationships with many of the small producers he met, who will supply the chocolate boutique he will be opening shortly in Girona.
“This book goes way beyond cacao. There are stories of people’s lives behind it,” explained Ignacio Medina during the book presentation. For Jordi Roca, the trip also enabled him to rethink some ideas. “I already knew how to work with chocolate, but this experience has given me deep understanding, and that is important in my job.” Both men were moved by the people and communities they came across and are sure that this project will enable them “to create opportunities at from the starting point to support these small producers”.
The book, published by Planeta Gastro together with BBVA, is already on sale in Spain and is soon to be available in Peru and Colombia.