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|Municipality||Santiago Mariño Municipality|
|Elevation||254 m (833 ft)|
Chuao is a small village located in the northern coastal range of Venezuela. It was founded in the 16th century. The village is famous for its cacao plantations, where some of the finest cocoa beans in the world are produced. The village is surrounded by mountains and dense rainforests to the south Caribbean Sea near the Henri Pittier National Park the oldest national park in Venezuela created in 1937. There is no road access and visitors must come by boat from the town of Puerto Colombia along the coast, or by foot, crossing the mountains and the luxurious cloud forest from Turmero near Maracay.
In the Chuao plantation there are currently pure Criollo and hybrid varieties of cacao being grown. Criollo beans from Chuao are of very high quality, and are considered Venezuela's finest beans together with Porcelana Blanca beans from Lake Maracaibo (another genetically pure variety of Criollo). Amedei, an Italian chocolate maker, and Chocolate NAIVE, a Lithuanian bean-to-bar chocolate maker, offer chocolate bars made with Chuao cacao. Naive was the winner of the European gold medal at the International Chocolate Awards 2014.
In November 2000, the cacao beans coming from Chuao region were awarded an appellation of origin under the title "Cacao de Chuao" (from Spanish Cacao de Chuao) effectively making this one of the most expensive and sought after types of cacao.
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