Criollo cocoa: rare and wonderful

The world of chocolate is full of different varieties of cocoa, each with their own unique characteristics and flavors.

Among these varieties, Criollo cocoa stands out as one of the rarest and most prized varieties in the world. Appreciated for its exceptionally delicate taste and subtle aroma, Criollo cocoa is a true treasure in the world of chocolate.


The Criollo (Creole), domesticated more than 3000-1500 BC by the Olmecs in the Maracaibo region of Venezuela. It is reserved for aromatic beans which represent 3 to 5% of world production. The pods are pointed and warty in shades of red-purple with white, round beans. The beans have sweet, slightly astringent and fruity aromas.

cocoa tree flower Cocoa tree flowers

Origin and production

Criollo cocoa gets its name from the Spanish word “criollo,” meaning “native” or “indigenous.” This cocoa variety is considered one of the oldest and has the purest genetic strain in the Theobroma world. It is native to the upper Amazon basin in South America, and is mainly cultivated in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico, although it has also been exported to Madagascar and some islands of Asia.

Criollo stands out from other cocoa varieties, such as Forastero and Trinitario, due to its unique genetics. Its beans are more delicate and fragile, making them more difficult to grow and process.

hybrid with criollo dominance

Criollo-dominant hybrid

Flavors and aromas

What makes Criollo cocoa so special are its unique sensory characteristics. Criollo beans are generally larger and paler than those of other cocoa varieties. They have a delicate and complex flavor, with floral, fruity and sometimes even slightly spicy notes. The texture is often smooth and velvety, melting pleasantly in the mouth.

Chocolatiers around the world consider Criollo to be one of the best varieties of cocoa for producing premium chocolate. Its rarity and complexity make it a true taste experience for chocolate lovers.

Conservation and sustainability

Due to its fragility, Criollo cocoa requires special attention when growing, harvesting and processing. Environmental conditions, such as climate and soil, play a crucial role in the successful production of this cocoa variety. The conservation of Criollo varieties is therefore essential to preserve this rare wonder.

However, Criollo's rarity and the challenges of producing it also make it a more expensive cocoa variety. Small farmers growing Criollo face lower yields and higher risks, making the economic sustainability of this crop often difficult.

Pure Criollo

Enjoy Criollo cocoa

When you taste chocolate made from Criollo cocoa, you embark on a unique sensory journey. The complexity of the aromas and flavors of this variety of cocoa allows you to discover the subtle and delicate nuances of quality chocolate.

If you are lucky enough to find chocolate made from Criollo cocoa, it is recommended to savor it slowly to fully appreciate all its taste qualities. Many artisan chocolatiers offer bars or candies specially designed to highlight the flavors of Criollo.

In conclusion, Criollo cocoa is an exceptional cocoa variety, known for its delicate taste, subtle aromas and rarity. Its ancient heritage and limited production make it a precious treasure in the world of chocolate. So, the next time you have the opportunity to taste Criollo chocolate, take the time to soak up its charm and excellence.


Leave a comment