Biodynamic Cacao: New Trend in Chocolate?
He also believes biodynamic agriculture yields a superior product, whether it be wine, chocolate, or anything else. "Many of the best wines on earth are biodynamic. And it's not a coincidence," he says.
"I see the results with the chocolate too. I don't need to be convinced, because the results are fantastic. The farmers are happy. We started with 12 farmers, now we are close to 110 farmers."
Peralta was recently named Outstanding Chocolate Maker for 2013 by the Fine Chocolate Industry Association. In 2012, he won ten medals (gold and silver) in distinct categories at the International Chocolate Awards. Indeed, biodynamic cacao seems to be working for Pacari Chocolate.
But some detractors disagree with the principles behind biodynamic agriculture. It is not the best farming method, and it's not better than standard or organic practices, they say. Some opponents argue that biodynamic agriculture is a pseudoscience, one with scientific evidence akin to witchcraft, voodoo, and all-around hocus-pocus.
"Biodynamics being based on 'a spiritual science' appears to be entirely based on a faith preached by Rudolf Steiner and is more religion or wacky cult than bona-fide scientific farming discipline," Stuart Smith of Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena, California, says in a letter to the Press Democrat.
Peralta disagrees. "Sacks of biodynamic cacao are just heavier. A sack that looks like 80 pounds of cacao will actually weigh 100 pounds because it's a more dense bean. Yes, it is for some reason which we cannot explain. But, right now, no one can say it isn't working."
He believes it's only the beginning of biodynamic chocolate and agriculture. As the term organic further erodes, much like the term free-range once did, he says, "You'll see. It'll become more trendy in the next few years."
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