ESMERALDAS - ECUADOR
L’Hacienda Eleonor is the adventure of a couple,
Chantal and Pierre-Yves COMTE, who love Ecuador
and who are fascinated with cocoa. They named their
Hacienda after their first grand-daughter, Eleonor.
« Wisdom is to have dreams big enough
not to lose sight when we pursue them». ».
Pierre-Yves COMTE, arboriculturist in the Rhône Valley for forty years now, developed this passion for Ecuador and for cocoa in 1990. He studied it for a long time before deciding to invest, with his wife Chantal, in 2015 in an estate in the region of Esmeraldas, the land of choice for cocoa.
The land of Esmeraldas is known for being particularly favourable for the cultivation of cocoa, which has been confirmed by the gourmet columnist for the British magazine, «The Economist» as being the place of production of the «Best cocoa in the world.»
In an exceptional wild landscape, «The Hacienda Eleonor» covers 350 hectares of former pastures and virgin forest which Chantal and Pierre-Yves Comte, the owners, have preserved with the greatest respect of its biodiversity.
The former pastures were planted with cocoa and the slopes of the hills with teak and other types of fine wood (mahogany, rosewood, Seibu, etc.).
The Teak Plantation or “The Man Who Planted Trees”... Inspired by a French rural tradition that consisted in initiating a woodlot following the birth of a daughter to provide a dowry for her wedding, Pierre-Yves COMTE wished to revive this tradition for his grandchildren.
ierre-Yves and Eleonor in front of the entrance of the Hacienda.
The Hacienda Eleonor covers 350 hectares of former pastures and virgin forest.
The cows of Hacienda Eleonor.
The Lake of Hacienda Eleonor.
The Lake of Hacienda Eleonor.
Ecuador’s climate was suited for this practice, and was advised by Dr. Olivier MONTEUUIS of CIRAD Montpellier, who himself has selected and introduced teakwood clones in vitro in Sabah, Malaysia. Pierre-Yves Comte brought back 2,220 clone microcuttings, which he personally picked up in a micropropagation laboratory in Kota Kinabalu (Sabah).
Following a 68-hour journey, the microcuttings successfully acclimatised to Ecuador’s climate, and were then planted on the property.
The behaviour of these teakwood clones is impressive. This is the estate’s second production that will be harvested in 15 to 20 years. Intercropping trials are under way on cacao trees.
The estate offers the major advantage of a 34-hectare natural lake which allows for irrigation of the cocoa plantation, thereby regulating the climate fluctuations and welcoming numerous bird species which contribute to the biodiversity of the estate.
The Hacienda Eleonor staff.
The estate has been certified for organic agriculture since 2019 by the German certifying organisation KIWA BCS.
The personnel includes five agricultural workers who live on site in individual houses with their families. No children are employed in the Hacienda.
Hacienda Eleonor works in close collaboration with experts of Cirad (Montpellier) and Doctor Philippe Bastide (Ph.D. in Biology) who acts as a consultant.
The cocoa pods are harvested by hand when they are mature and brought directly to our fermenting and drying station, located on the estate itself, which guarantees freshness and quality.
After 5 days of fermentation in wooden cases and drying in the open air, the beans are put into jute sacks to be exported to France, where they are stored in the fruit packing station of Nîmes, at the Domaine du Château de la Tuilerie, family estate of Chantal and Pierre- Yves Comte.
Chantal Comte is also passionate about this new activity, to which she brings her talent as a taster, honed through her thirty-five years of experience in wine (she was the wine grower of Château de la Tuilerie), while over the same period of time she also worked in selecting rare rums from the West Indies in her Atelier du Rhum in Nîmes. She is also in charge of the Eko Kakao and Hacienda Eleonor communications.
Fermenting and drying station.
The beans are drying in the open air.
Based in our warehouses in Nîmes, our company EKO KAKAO imports, stores, distributes and markets the production of our Hacienda Eleonor, as well as exceptional beans sourced from various regions of Ecuador.
All our beans are produced organically.