Regions

Zona Maya – Heart of Honduran Cocoa Culture

The Ulúa valley in the “Zona Maya” is the heart of the Honduras cocoa culture: In this beautiful region with rolling hills and valleys covered by vast forests and countless rivers, cocoa has been enjoyed since 1100 BC by Olmecs, Mayas and Aztecs. At the time of the Spanish invasion, the Ulúa Valley was regarded as the origin of the best cocoa in Central America.  

Today’s cocoa farmers of the “Zona Maya” believe the preservation of the cocoa tradition of their ancestors as their duty. They have cultivated an exceptional awareness in regard to quality and utilise on intricate post-harvest processing: the Trinitario fine cocoa is fermented in wooden boxes, dried in the sun and sorted by hand. An enormous effort that pays off: The cocoa from the “Zona Maya” has a sweet chocolate taste with a hint of vanilla and aromas of dried fruits, flower nectar, nut and caramel. Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs would be proud of their descendants. 

Annual cocoa production100 tons 
Acreage1294 hectares 
Cooperatives11
Cocoa farmers971
Of which men 781
Of which women 190
Young farmers (over 18 years) 93
Acreage per farmer  1.3 hectares 
Mixed plants Coconut, plantain, banana, avocado, mahogany, cedar, laurel 
Cocoa sales volume per farmer267 kilograms 
Fermentation rate 78% 
Fermentation method In wooden boxes 
Drying method Sun-dried 
SelectionHand sorted 
VarietyTrinitario 
Flavour notes Sweet chocolate flavour with hints of vanilla, dried fruit, flower nectar and nuts, leaving a caramel flavour at the end. 
TransportBy land 

Sensory Spider

Zona Caribe – As Beautiful As It Is Dangerous 

Rainforests, river valleys, lagoons and beaches: the “Zona Caribe” offers a mix of spectacular landscapes that is reflected in the Trinitario fine cocoa: the dynamic taste profile ranges from aromas of almonds, passion fruit and mocha to fine notes of citrus and effervescent cherries.  

But nature is as beautiful as it is dangerous: The “Zona Caribe” is the region most affected by natural disasters in Honduras. Hurricane Mitch in 1998 destroyed large parts of the cocoa plantations and infrastructure. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that more and more tourists are staying away since they are deterred by the enormous crime rate, reports of violent demonstrations and the refugee caravans. This leads to the beaches on the Caribbean Sea often remaining empty. 

This makes stable long-term income sources provided through the cultivation of cocoa all the more important. With the help of Chocolats Halba Honduras, cocoa farmers are transforming their monocultures into sustainable mixed cultivation, known as agroforestry. Cocoa is cultivated together with timber trees and crops like coconut, banana or avocado. The strong trees and the dense, diverse vegetation protect the plantation from storm winds and flooding. 

Annual cocoa production75 tons 
Acreage669 hectares 
Cooperatives
Cocoa farmers 895 
Of which men 649 
Of which women 246
Young farmers (over 18 years) 77
Acreage per farmer  0.7 hectares 
Mixed plants Coconut, plantain, banana, avocado, mahogany, cedar, laurel 
Cocoa sales volume per farmer  299 kilograms 
Fermentation rate 80% 
Fermentation method In wooden boxes 
Drying method Sun-dried 
Selection Hand sorted 
Variety Trinitario
Flavour notes Natural flavours of passion fruit, blueberries, plum, apricot and mocha. It has a citrus touch which is embraced with notes of effervescent cherries of slight bitterness. 
Transport By land 

Sensory Spider

Zona Olancho – Cowboys Become Cocoa Farmers

Dig a hole, insert a seedling, fill it up and store the location with GPS: Cocoa farmers in the “Zona Olancho” are part of a large-scale reforestation project. Together with Chocolats Halba Honduras, they plant 82 trees every day in and around their cocoa plantations. It not only protects climate and biodiversity, but also cocoa plants. The tall trees provide the sensitive cocoa with shade, nutrients and water. 

The “Zona Olancho” is the region of Honduras worst affected by deforestation. Especially after hurricane Mitch 1998, many farmers switched to cattle farming and cleared valuable forests. Where lush rainforests once stood, huge herds of cattle now wander across steppe landscapes. The herds move further and further east towards the Río Plátano biosphere reserve, a Unesco world natural heritage site with countless natural beauties.  

The combination of sustainable cocoa cultivation and reforestation is an important instrument in the fight against the destruction of unique flora and fauna. In addition, the Trinitario fine cocoa beans can be used to create chocolates for the highest standards – thanks to a complex aroma with notes of vanilla, nuts, citrus and ripe figs. 

Annual cocoa production12.5 tons 
Acreage315 hectares 
Cooperatives1
Cocoa farmers 441
Of which men 377
Of which women 64
Young farmers (over 18 years) 35
Acreage per farmer  0.7 hectares 
Mixed plants Mahogany, cedar, laurel, banana, plantain 
Cocoa sales volume per farmer  143 kilograms 
Fermentation rate 76% 
Fermentation method In wooden boxes 
Drying method Sun-dried 
Selection Hand sorted 
Variety Trinitario
Flavour notes Trinitarian cocoa presents mainly caramelized and honey notes. Once transformed into chocolate, its profile is more complex with notes of vanilla, nuts, a mixture of citrus and ripe fig. 
Transport By land 

Sensory Spider

Zona Mosquitia – With Cocoa against Coke

The “Zona Mosquitia” is a sparsely populated region with thick jungle, lagoons and mangrove swamps. Here lies the spectacular Patuca National Park, home to many endangered species such as tapir, jaguar and great anteater. The cocoa grows in the buffer zone of the park in dense, diverse mixed plantations. Due to the lack of roads, the smallholder farmers take their beans by boat from the villages to the larger settlements. There, the Trinitario fine cocoa undergoes an intricate processing process: they are fermented for one week in wooden boxes, dried in the sun for another week and then sorted by hand. This preserves the various aromas of the beans and allows the intense cocoa taste with notes of mocha, grapes and apricots to fully develop. 

The isolated location of the “Zona Mosquitia” is ideal for endangered animals and plants, but also has its disadvantages: The region is increasingly being used as a route for international drug trafficking. Crime in the region is increasing, especially young people without perspective are recruited for the illegal activities. Cocoa is one of the few opportunities for a secure income – and thus an important tool in the fight against drug-related crime. 

Annual cocoa production12.5 tons 
Acreage217 hectares 
Cooperatives1
Cocoa farmers 212
Of which men 155
Of which women 57
Young farmers (over 18 years) 2
Acreage per farmer  1 hectares 
Mixed plants Mahogany, cedar, cashew, plantain 
Cocoa sales volume per farmer  205 kilograms 
Fermentation rate 77% 
Fermentation method In wooden boxes 
Drying method Sun-dried 
Selection Hand sorted 
Variety Trinitario
Flavour notes Strong cocoa flavour with fresh floral notes, hints of nuts, mocha, grapes and apricot, leaving in the end a sweet taste of cane. 
Transport By land  and on the river

Sensory Spider