Gifford, an ex-Peace Corps expatriate, and Jose Enrique, a native Nicaraguan cacao agronomist, live with their families in the fertile Matagalpa region of Northern Nicaragua, where old Criollo and Trinitario cacao varietals have been cultivated for generations. In 2012, on the 29th February (ie a leap year), these two cocoa enthusiasts founded Cacao Bisiesto — celebrating the date with the use of “Bisiesto”, Spanish for ‘leap year’.
In 2013,Dan and Jael describe themselves as being “blessed with a direct connection from a mutual coffee contact to Giff Laube, who formed Cacao Bisiesto with his partner, José Enrique Herrera”. They immediately grasped the unique tack they were taking in Matagalpa, Nicaragua wtih Cacao Bisesto. Giff and Jose are attempting to protect heirloom varieties on the brink of extinction. They both grow their own cacao and cure the harvests of surrounding farmers, providing a much higher value than the farmers could previously expect. Moreover they understood that excellent cacao stock only takes you so far. Both fermentation and drying critically affect the quality and flavor of the cacao, and the resulting chocolate. And so Cacao Bisiesto has put huge attention and training into fermentation and drying. In addition, Giff has been to Asheville to speak with French Broad staff and customers, and Dan and Jael have been to visit him and his family in Matagalpa.
In 2014, French Broad Chocolates’ 68% Cacao chocolate bar with Giff and Jose Enrique’s cacao won best origin dark bar at the Northwest Chocolate Festival, and in 2015, a Good Food Award
This bar has hardly any acidity but still has a very clean taste, with a hint of spice. The melt is slow and satisfying. And flavour notes of buttered toast, black tea and green olives come through