El Castillo del Cacao
Just outside the city of Matagalpa, on route to La Dalia, is the El Castillo del Cacao. From its hillside location, the El Castillo del Cacao has magnificent views of the landscapes below. Even though it is a castle, it is not home to nobles or kings, but is home to one of the most famed chocolate factories in Nicaragua. The massive structure has been built from all the building materials typically used in constructing a castle, but this one holds the secret to delicious handmade chocolate.
The factory was not always housed in the castle. It started in the humble beginnings of a stone shed with a working area of approximately twenty square meters. The building of the castle was made possible by the dedication of the factory workers to create a story of success and Don Camilo, a well-known master of construction. The beautiful grounds that surround the castle are being rehabilitated with the planting of trees and shrubs and workers are trying to breathe new life into the soil by bringing in large loads of compost and organic soils. El Castillo del Cacao is not only trying to open new doors of employment opportunities in Nicaragua, but to support the conservation and rehabilitation of forest, land and the environment in general.
The chocolate that is made at the El Castillo del Cacao, is created from organic ingredients, including organic cacao that is processed locally. Cacao farmers in the area are also trained on the chocolate making process and with buying only organic cacao the factory brings hope and purpose to the smaller scale farmers. The chocolate factory has also expanded its product range to include chocolate bars, bonbons, cooking chocolate and unroasted cacao. Their range of chocolate can be found in most shops in Matagalpa, Leon, Managua and Esteli.
El Castillo del Cacao has also reached out to Sri Lanka by establishing a coffee-roasting firm named Hansa Coffee. From producing quality chocolate and coffee to protecting the environment, this quaint chocolate factory is growing into a production phenomenon. Spreading their good fortune to everyone that is involved in the chocolate making process, however big or small, makes El Castillo del Cacao a leader in the industry and a company that is not only invested in it own interests, but the interests of Nicaragua and its people.