The Dominican Republic has a long history of cacao and chocolate production. It was one of the islands that Christopher Columbus landed on during his journey to the Americas. Cacao from the Dominican Republic was brought back to Spain by Hernán Cortés and used in the Royal courts. The Spanish learned from the native people in the Americas that drank their chocolate bitter and frothy. The Spanish added sugar and consumed chocolate as a delicacy.
People in the Dominican Republic still have a custom around drinking chocolate, they drink it with sugar and milk in the morning. I got the chance to visit La Esperanza, a woman owned cooperative in the Dominican Republic, they make their own drinking chocolate for people to enjoy all over the Dominican Republic.
When I got there they had no time to sit and chat, because they were busy filling orders for markets all over the country.
Women play a crucial role in chocolate production, usually they are the ones harvesting and caring for cacao. They don't usually see benefits of their hard work, because they sell their beans to chocolate manufacturers and middle men for low prices. It is very encouraging to see woman that grow their own cacao and also make chocolate.
Women also pass the knowledge of how to prepare traditional methods of drinking chocolate. Every country has their own tips and tricks. In the Dominican Republic in rural areas there is a tradition of drinking chocolate in the morning to stay energized throughout the day.
*Written by Becca Roebber, indi chocolate Marketing Director