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Rows of young cacao seedlings grow in Galápagos, promising a future of unique chocolate flavors and contributing to the islands’ biodiversity

Swiss Chocolate Meets Island Conservation

Patricia Stucki shares her inspiring story in the Galapagos Archipelago. This is a remote place where biodiversity and preservation are vital. Patricia Stucki, a naturalist and chocolate lover, successfully blended her Swiss heritage into the rich ecosystem on the islands thanks to the Galapagos Conservancy.

Birth of a Conservation Passion

Patricia, who grew up in Switzerland near a cocoa factory, developed a deep connection to the world of chocolate at a very young age. Her passion for cocoa has guided her to an unexpected career.

Patricia Stucki began her commitment to conservation in Galapagos on the busy streets of Switzerland. She sold chocolates to raise money for the islands. She managed this initiative from Switzerland and it showed her love for the islands long before she became a resident. This unexpected encounter created a bond with this natural wonder. As a naturalist in Galapagos today, Patricia shares not only the beauty of the island but also the story of how the chocolate sparked her love for the place. This connection has fuelled her desire to directly contribute to the conservation efforts of this beautiful archipelago.

She purchased land on Santa Cruz Island’s highlands in 2010, with the goal of growing her own cocoa. Her love of cocoa and her determination helped her overcome initial difficulties. Her perseverance paid off and now her plantation houses over 2000 cocoa trees, each with their own story of growth.

Galapagos Conservancy Influence

Two farmers skillfully process cocoa beans into nibs and chocolates, a project supported by Galápagos Conservancy that provides employment in the local community.
©Galápagos Conservancy

Patricia says that “this trip wouldn’t have happened without the financial assistance from the Galapagos Conservancy Grants.” As tourism in Galapagos was declining due to Covid-19, Patricia felt inspired to expand her company. The Galapagos Conservancy grants enabled Patricia to not only plant seeds, but also adopt sustainable production methods. This has contributed significantly to the conservation of the archipelago.

Patricia is now exploring the infinite possibilities of cocoa. The cocoa shells can be transformed into chocolate tea that is served with cinnamon and hot water. The nibs are made by breaking and roasting cocoa beans. They are high in iron, antioxidants and can be added to granolas or cookies. The nibs are also transformed into a liquid chocolate that is molded, infused with customized ingredients and can be refined. Galapagos Chocolate is more than a delicious treat. It’s also a testament of Patricia’s commitment to produce high-quality cocoa chocolate in the Enchanted Islands.

Each cocoa seed that grows in the Galapagos highlands represents Patricia’s passion, and the bridge connecting two worlds – the Swiss and Enchanted Archipelago. Her story shows how passion and persistence can bring disparate worlds together, bringing Swiss chocolate to Galapagos.

A cup of chocolate tea, a flagship product of Patricia’s project, is enjoyed by both tourists and the local community.
©Galápagos Conservancy