In late 2016, we introduced Amma Chocolate to our range. Amma produce 100% organic chocolates, sustainably grown in the Brazilian rainforests of Bahia. Our best-selling chocolate bar to date is Theobroma Grandiflorum - made with cupuaçu almonds, it serves as a popular chocolate substitute.
This month (January 2018), I travelled (accompanied by my Brazilian colleague) to Brazil to see some of the country for myself. We arrived into Ipantinga and journeyed to the state of Minas Gerais, and despite being many hundreds of kilometres from Bahia, it hasn't been difficult to see why this country is the natural home of organic chocolate.
Like a real life Garden of Eden, fruits grow everywhere. Along the roadside, in people's gardens, in the forests - everywhere is green and teaming with life. Bananas, mangos, limes, coconuts, sugar cane, papiya, avocado, coffee, to name but a few, are all plentiful with or without the cultivation of humans.
We visited a family farm in São José do Goiabal (above). Everything is still done by hand - the milking of the cows, the grinding of the corn or coffee beans. The farm is self-sustaining, with a little bit of everything coexisting. The chickens know the true meaning of 'free ranged,' roaming around the farm and into the forests. When a nest of eggs is sufficiently well hidden so as to evade the farmer's eyes, it'll eventually reveal itself to the ears as the chicks hatch and announce themselves to the world. The new chickens are whisked away with their mother to the protection of a barn for her to parade them proudly - safely away from threats above and below in the form of birds of prey, owls, skunks, frogs, lizards and snakes.
This game of hide-and-seek between human and bird is perfectly weighted to insure both a steady supply of eggs and the sustainable replacement of chickens.
Above: coffee beans growing on a farm in São José do Goiabal, Minas Gerais