the farmers

Nortico Cacao Farm is a family farm and life project created by an enthusiastic cacao connoisseur from Costa Rica and an engaged world traveler from Norway. NOR stands for the North and Norway, while TICO is an idiomatic term used for a native of Costa Rica – the friendly Ticos.

At Nortico Cacao Farm we have joined our passions for outdoor living, sustainable farming and craft chocolate. This is where we live, work and where our children play, a beautiful and authentic space for learning by living.

Cacao Tour & Workshop

We invite you on a journey to discover the story behind Theobroma cacao, “Food of the Gods”

Aldo Sánchez

Aldo Sánchez

My name is Aldo Sánchez, born and raised in Turrialba, Costa Rica and one of the Co-Founders of Nortico Cacao Farm.

Since my childhood I have been linked to the cultivation of cacao. I have memories of my grandmother fermenting cacao in a very rustic way, but still good enough to get a rich beverage for family consumption and to sell a few kilos of dry cacao at the local market.

My interest for conservation and sustainable food production led me to studies in Agronomy and Natural Resource Management, followed by a Master in Agribusiness Management. During all my studies the emphasis has been on the cultivation of cacao; once familiarized with this wonderful and mystical fruit it is hard to leave! After University I worked 10 years in CATIE, an International Research Center with the second biggest collection of cacao in the world and later for a European Chocolate Company. In between it all I also teach the world of cacao, leading a course in Agronomy at the University of Costa Rica. In short, my life is pretty much evolved around cacao.

Nortico Cacao Farm is like my personal playground where I get to put the theory and science into real world experiments. We grow eight carefully selected varieties of Cacao Fino de Aroma in combination with other plants and trees, providing a sustainable system for both the nature that surround us and the people who work for us and depend on us. I love to share my experience and knowledge about cacao, whether being a more scientific approach with agronomy students, researchers and farmers to visitors and travelers who want to see a cacao fruit for the very first time and learn where chocolate comes from.

HELLO, my name is Ann-Elin and I am one of the Co-founders of Nortico Cacao Farm.

I had my very first encounter with cacao in my 30´s, and for the last decade I have had the privileged to study, experience and learning by doing in the interdisciplinary world of cacao.

I am born and raised in Norway, and as most Europeans I was a happy consumer of chocolate, but the historical and spiritual importance of cacao was a new world to me. The history of cacao traces back over 4 000 years and had a divine status in the different indigenous cultures in today´s Central- and South-America. Cacao is still used in ceremonies today, and it is known as a heart-opening medicine for inner awakening and creative guidance. Women play an important role in the world of cacao, both cultivating the crop and passing on the traditions to younger generations, an important and very interesting part of history that I personally think it´s worth keeping alive.

My formal background is far from agronomy and cacao, but my undergraduate degree in Sustainable Tourism Management and Masters in International Relations cope well with our project and lifestyle in Costa Rica. The focus in my thesis was to combine environmental policies with sustainable tourism practices, and that is exactly what we do at Nortico Cacao Farm.

I also run Nortico Travel, a small tour operator specializing in personalized experiences in Costa Rica and a few other destinations in Latin-America. Traveling and exploring the remote corners of the world have been my life for decades, and I now get to use my experience and contacts by taking you to people and places hard to find on your own.


Ann-Elin Norddal