WHERE DOES THE MAGIC COME FROM?
The story behind Bolitos & Candín

One family, one land,
an undisputed taste.

Many say that, right on that hill of Los Tabucos, an angel sprinkles the sowing with his tears. “It has to be,” they say, “everything there flourishes in abundance.” Others, like me, believe that the true magic was born in the hands of those who first worked that land.

This is the story of Bolitos and Candín, my grandparents. Of their strength and courage, of their little wooden house and their 16 children. Of cocoa and Dominican chocolate. This is the story that gave way to the legend: “whoever eats our bars, company and good advice is not lacking”

But where do you think the rumor came from? There are many hypotheses. Possibly from the mysterious rain that envelops the house and that the neighbors assure emanates a scent so sweet and penetrating that it attracts the hearts that look for company. Perhaps from the alchemy of Mamá Candín (Consuelo Rodríguez), from her temperance and undeniable ability to administer between 18 mouths: a chicken for lunch and three eggs for dinner. Or from the sayings of Bolitos (Mr. José Manuel Núñez), who until today’s planting, accompany his children and grandchildren.

For one thing or another, there is something fascinating about it: endings are beginnings and bad times, the omen of something good. In 1989, after La Roya’s Disease spread like dense darkness over the Dominican coffee plantations, there was hunger. And that hunger, paradoxically, sowed in Bolitos an idea that would bear much fruit.

She knew it one morning, when Mamá Candín – who had a child on one leg, another one of months clinging to her chest and another one in her belly – did her best to get up and prepare hot chocolate. That aroma, coming from the little stove, quickly crept into every corner of the house like a divine breath that cleared the mind and unraveled the ideas in the head. “You have to sow cocoa,” said my grandfather, with that certainty that those who fall in love, at first sight, have: once and for all.

And from that moment on he didn’t stop planting. He sowed in the rain, he sowed on sunny days. He sowed when others stopped sowing and he waited. He waited with a conviction that few have, he waited with joy, with anxiety and even with tiredness. Still, he never stopped waiting.

The wait brought the first harvest, and after each harvest, what began as an idea to leave behind hopelessness, became a family business involving from the largest to the smallest of their children. Men and women alike.

Some harvested, others sorted, others dried and others sold. In that little Turkish house, no one was left without a job. The good thing is that work was never seen as a burden, on the contrary, it was a way of living and even playing for my younger uncles. Every work that was done was led by the firm but affable voice of my grandfather: “Things are done well or not at all”, “he who sows does not go hungry”.

And you know what? Bolitos not only planted cocoa but also values. Perhaps that’s why, as if it were an echo that doesn’t fade away, there are those who assure us that between the crunch of the steps and the leaves that fall in that field of Los Tabucos, you can still hear their wisdom.  That which he sowed, made that in spite of the trips, of the business and the passage of time, all his children returned to the field. Neither New York, nor Boston, nor the big cities were able to unearth that attachment to the land that saw them born.

It is as if what happened in the past is still happening in some way. Because there was a relationship so… how can I describe it? Close between Bolitos and the countryside that, when an American visa threatened to separate them, torrential rain fell for three days on that part of the hill alone. It rained so much that the river rose and entered the little house as if it wanted to take away all the bad things. And so it was. Two days later there was no way, no way, that the four women of the house, who had an innate ability to find what no one else could find, could find somewhere the grandfather’s contribution.

No one could separate them from the field. It was as if the love my grandparents had for each other grew as proportionately and dearly as their love for the land. For them, everything related to growing cocoa was a kind of thread that woven together every chapter of their history and that of their family.

Today, 30 years later, for an almost mystical reason, our chocolate bars give inside them some of that wisdom of Bolitos and help to find those who taste good company. Perhaps that is why, as if even Mama Candín was in charge of delivering each bite when someone opens one of our chocolate bars they always find someone to share it with.

FAQ

Is it really organic?

Yes! The cocoa we grow on our farm and use in our chocolates is totally organic and of the highest quality. To prove it, we are accredited by the USDA/NOP and by CERES.

What allergens are contained in Bolitos y Candín products?

The labels and technical data sheets of our products always show the allergens they may contain. All our products are free of:

  • Gluten
  • Egg and egg products
  • Fish and derivatives
  • Mustard and derivatives
  • Crustaceans and derivatives
  • Molluscs and derivatives
  • Sulfites
  • Peanuts and derivatives
  • Sesame seeds and derivatives
  • Celery and derivatives

What does cacao “Fino de Aroma” mean?

The world cocoa market distinguishes between two broad categories of cocoa beans: "fine aroma" cocoa beans and "bulk" or "ordinary" cocoa beans. Fine flavors include fruits (fresh and golden, ripe fruit), floral, herbal and woodsy notes, nutty and caramel notes, as well as rich and balanced chocolate bases. Generally, the ICO (International Cocoa Organization) uses a combination of criteria to evaluate the quality of fine aroma cocoa. These include the genetic origin of the planting material, the morphological characteristics of the plant, the taste characteristics of the cocoa beans produced, the chemical characteristics of the cocoa beans, the color of the beans and the cocoa seeds, the degree of fermentation, drying, acidity, off-flavors, percentage of internal mold, insect infestation and percentage of impurities.

What does our CERES certification mean?

This certification is a great endorsement of our farms' commitment to clean and organic cocoa production. CERES (CERtification of Environmental Standards) is a German certification for organic agriculture and food processing, organic textiles, Good Agricultural and Manufacturing Practices in the food industry, and also a certification according to several agricultural sustainability standards.

What does the concept “tree to bar” mean?

In the past, the chocolate-making process used to begin in a tree in the tropics and end in a factory in the global north. But over the past few decades, some visionary cocoa producers have decided to keep a good portion of the final value of the fruit in our country of origin. That's why the chocolates we make at Bolitos & Candin say "Tree to Bar", because we are in charge of the whole process, from planting the tree in perfect conditions to making the bars with care, maintaining total control over the cocoa from cultivation to manufacturing.

What does the USDA/NOP organic seal represent?

Established by the U.S. Congress in 2001, this federal regulatory program develops and enforces uniform national standards for organically produced agricultural products sold in the United States. Operating as a public-private partnership, NOP (National Organic Program) accredits private companies and helps train their inspectors to certify that farms and businesses comply with national organic standards. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and accredited certifiers also work together to enforce the standards, ensuring a level playing field for producers and protecting consumer confidence in the integrity of the USDA Organic Seal.

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