Last week, I went home to Texas to visit my family. While I was there, I took off for the day to meet Bertil Akesson. He grows cacao in Madagascar and Brazil. His farm in Madagascar supplies most of the world’s best chocolate makers with ripe-tasting, fruity beans. He’s worked for years to refine his growing, harvesting, fermenting, and drying techniques.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet Bertil at his farms in either Madagascar or Brazil. Instead, we met, ate, and had a great conversation at an Indian restaurant in downtown Houston. We already know that sourcing great beans in quantities large enough to sustain our factory will be one of our biggest challenges, so it was exciting to talk directly to someone that has so much experience with cacao. The closer we can get to the trees, the better the chocolate we can make.
After preparing our palate by eating a bunch of Indian food, we tasted each other’s chocolate. In addition to exporting cacao, Bertil makes single plantation chocolate from criollo beans on his own farm. Whenever we taste different chocolate bars made from the same beans, we’re always struck by how different the final product is. Both our bars and Bertil’s bars, though, tasted remarkably similar, with both packing the same fruity punch. As we posted earlier, we just received 5 new bags of beans from Bertil’s farm in Madagascar and I think there are more in our future!