The research is develop by IBERTUR, a network of heritage and tourism professionals from Europe and Latin America created in 2006, member of The Chocolate Way, and coordinated by University of Barcelona. It is the result of an ALFA Project of the European Commission on Cultural Tourism (2003-2005) were transnational cultural routes was included. In March 2007, the creation of the Cocoa Route was promoted under the auspices of UNESCO, focused mainly in Latin America and the Caribbean and from an historical perspective. Now is in a reformulation process and one of the proposals presented from IBERTUR is to connect with The Chocolate Way in order to promote networking and to create synergies and share experiences.
- IBERTUR has some research studies on cocoa and chocolate in their graduate programs in culinary studies and postgraduate program in cultural and heritage management.
- Catalan recipes that included chocolate is one the research initiatives coordinated with Catalan Institute of Catalan Cuisine.
- From 2014, they are participating in several international projects. The most important are CHARTS Project financed by Interreg IVC Program (2012-2014) and HECTOR by Erasmus+ (2014-16).
On December 8th 2014 was presented the project of candidacy of the eighteenth century technical of stone grinding chocolate (type of Chocolate of Modica) as a UNESCO immaterial heritage.
Ignazio Abbate, Mayor of Modica, World Heritage Site for UNESCO, announced the twinning of Alicante (Spain), Modica (Italy) and Bayonne (France), focusing on cultural relationships related to the manufacture of handmade chocolate.
The Mayor also said that the UNESCO Commissioner Raymond Bondin will present the candidature of the eighteenth century technique of preparation of Chocolate of Modica as UNESCO Intangible Heritage.
The candidacy will be open to the European countries that have traces of this type of preparation and to the Latin American countries that preserves this traditional heritage.
The conference was attended by a large audience, mostly represented by the delegation of sixty European students Erasmus led by Prof. Giuseppe Barone, Dean of the Faculty of Political Science, University of Catania.
The historical technical of stone grinding chocolate is based on the use of the “metate”, tool made of curve lava stone of Meso American origin.
What enhances this research is the diffusion of this instrument in the Mediterranean and in the Pyrenees area with the same name as the Aztec.
The chocolate processing with the stone is common not only in different parts of Europe, but also to hundreds of places in Central America where this tradition still remains alive.
The intention, also through the role of IBERTUR and Professor Jordi Tresserras, is to work to obtaining an UNESCO Label that values a Cultural Route of cocoa for the Latin American countries where cocoa was an integral part on an anthropological level at sphere social, economic, gastronomic sphere connected to the European places where this work has developed and has maintained the characteristics of the chocolate processed with Metate over the centuries.
Based on this subject was signed on July 21, 2016 the agreement between The Chocolate Way and the Municipality of Guayaquil, promoter of the Ruta del Cacao Ecuador. The harbor of Guayaquil from 400 years is the starting point of the cocoa to Europe and its history represents the history of economic relations between continents and cultures.