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25 Days Of Holiday Gifts: The Fine Chocolate

The story behind the Fortunato #4 Forever Bar, often called the “rarest chocolate in the world,” is almost hard to believe. It was produced from the Pure Nacional cacao tree in Ecuador for centuries and considered the best chocolate sold in Europe until disease killed the tree about 100 years ago. Recently, a related species was discovered in Peru, and Pure Nacional chocolate returned. Celebrity chefs Eric Ripert (a chocoholic) and Anthony Bourdain traveled to Peru to film a television show about it, and the ensuing popularity has made the cacao tree endangered again—this time by poachers. Now the trees are guarded by militia. Shelbyville fine chocolatier Chocolate for the Spirit knew about Pure Nacional long before Ripert and Bourdain, and was selected as one of the few distributors in the country. Bars go for $16 each. You’re on your own for security detail. Find Chocolate for the Spirit at the Indieana Handicraft Exchange on December 1 at the Harrison Center. Bars also sold online,

Fernandez began writing for Indianapolis Monthly in 1995 while studying journalism at Indiana University. One of her freelance assignments required her to join a women's full-tackle football team for a season. She joined the staff in 2005 to edit IM's ancillary publications, including Indianapolis Monthly Home. In 2011, she became a senior editor responsible for the Circle City section as well as coverage of shopping, homes, and design-related topics. Now the director of editorial operations, she lives in Garfield Park.