Today on the Farm Report, two chocolate experts call in to tell Erin all about what gives chocolate the "fine" label. Pam Williams and Dan Pearson founded Ecole Chocolat and Marañón Chocolate, respectively.

Both of today's guests helped found the Fine Chocolate Industry Association and its recent initiative the Heirloom Cacao Preservation, which seeks to save pure cacao beans from extinction.

ecole chocolat


Pearson discovered a source of 40% white cacao beans while working as a businessman (and sourcing bananas) in Peru. He learned of the bean's rarity after sending it to the USDA for genetic testing, and has since teamed up with Pam to raise awareness on the possibility of such fine beans' extinction.

"The fight we're in with the Heirloom Cacao Preservation is to preserve the rare quality chocolate beans, while the farmer has to make a living, and he has a temptation to plant plantations of the tasteless but very productive cacao variety." [08:03] – Dan Pearson


"The USDA and other scientists [...] have basically done lots and lots of research on disease and lots of research on increasing yields. But nobody has done anything on trying to match the DNA to flavor." [11:47] – Pam Williams