Cordillera and Santander chocolates are made solely from Criollo and Trinitario cacao beans. These beans are superior in taste to the Forestero beans found in the vast majority of chocolates. The more common and cheaper Forestero beans, grown primarily in Africa, produce chocolate identified mostly by bitterness, rather than by more complex tasting notes such as “fruity”, “floral”, “nutty”, etc. For example, if you were to taste a range of chocolates similar in percent of total cacao solids to the Cordillera line, the taste description would be limited to “semisweet”, “more bittersweet”, “more bitter still”, and “most bitter”. By contrast, the dark chocolates in the Cordillera range vary not just in bitterness intensity, but also in a wide range of additional flavor notes.


Cordillera is, quite simply, the least expensive Criollo and Trinitario bean based chocolate in the world. The fragility and limited supply of Criollo and Trinitario cacao (as compared with Forestero) results in a higher raw material cost. For this reason, chocolate produced using these beans is typically priced $3-4 per kg higher than similar chocolate made using Forestero beans. However, chocolate produced in Colombia by Compañía Nacional de Chocolates S.A. enjoys many economic advantages that allow the pricing of Cordillera to compare favorably to Forestero bean based chocolate. These advantages include:

Lower production costs

Lower logistics costs due to less shipping and handling

Lower labor costs

Duty free for all chocolate shipped from Colombia into the US and Canada

As a consequence, Cordillera is able to deliver a superior quality chocolate at or near the cost of a Forestero bean based product.


The commercial success of any product is dependent on the seller’s ability to distinguish its product from that of the competition. For decades the chocolate lines from Europe have set the standard in North America for how premium chocolate should taste. Additional European brands were and continue to be introduced to the market nearly every year, many of them simply created from an established brand and then repackaged and relabeled into a “new” brand. The result of these marketing maneuvers is a blurring of the line separating one European brand from another. Consequently, the cachet of European chocolate has been diminished as flavor and perceived flavor are lumped into a “European chocolate” flavor. European chocolate no longer represents the ultimate chocolate product as it once did.