Most of the cacao farms in the Duarte cluster are located very close to San Francisco de Macorís, the province’s capital. This was the birthplace of Héctor José Rizek Llabaly, the company’s patriarch. It is where Rizek Cacao has created CE.T.I.CO, the world’s largest cacao processing plant. Wet organic cacao (cacao en baba, with the seeds still embedded in the fresh pulp) from all over the country, is fermented and dried here according to more than 40 recipes tailored to specific clients and projects, like the Rizek Essentials.
The cluster is home to three of the origins in the Rizek Essentials collection, Los Bejucos and Ramonal with their own Denomination of Origin since 2012, and Duarte. There are noticeable flavor differences among the three, the combined result of variations in terroir and rigorously precise, detailed processing at a centralized location that excitingly brings out what is unique to each origin.
Closeness to the processing center allows us to bring in cacao from the designated farms in the Duarte origin to CETICO (Center for the Integral Transformation of Cacao) in less than six hours after the pods are opened to be examined for Brix points as an indicator of correct ripeness (a Brix grade of 14 and up is considered optimal for fermentation). Treated according to a very specific protocol, the Duarte origin has a strong chocolate core in which softer notes of dark sugar and lighter flashes of acidity and floral subtlety temper an austere backbone of wood and walnut-skin astringency.
A strong chocolate center with dark sugar and wood notes, light acidity and floral notes, underpinned by a pleasant walnut astringency.
Innovation and processing
CETICO stands for Center for the Integral Transformation of Cacao
This is a unique facility conceived by Rizek Cacao to produce the best, distinctive cacao, from wet beans.
- The first fully integrated post-harvest cacao processing center.
- Exclusive methods and equipment for fermentation and drying.
- Microbiological controls.
- Highly qualified professionals.
- Sensory panel.
- Physical and chemical parameters quality control for all batches.