Hello and good day!
One of the most special experiences in the world for us is taking products out to campo for our cacao farm partners to taste.
It is a sad reality that most cacao producers never get to taste the chocolate made from their crops. In a particularly strange twist of irony, this is even more pronounced in the fine chocolate space.
If cacao is going into an industrial chocolate supply chain to make cheap chocolate, at least there is a chance some of that cheap chocolate might make it back out to a local bodega where you can buy Doritos, Coca-Cola, and other junk food snacks out in campo.
But fine chocolate, with properly processed cacao, is almost always bound for some other country.
There are generally several brokers in between the farmer and the chocolate maker such that it would be very hard to get chocolate back to the farmers even if you tried.Along the same lines, it is peculiar that most coffee farmers in the region where we do business drink Nescafe.
They are surrounded by coffee plants.
But they have to sell the crops for money so that they can buy school supplies for their kids, materials to maintain their property, and pay hospitable bills if somebody gets sick or needs surgery.
Like everybody, they economize on their purchases and Nescafe is a much cheaper way to consume coffee.
As for fine chocolate, it would be considered almost an unimaginable splurge for a cacao farmer to pay the prices most of us pay for good chocolate.They sell the cacao, but they would be priced out of the chocolate.
And that is why as often as possible, we take products down to share with our friends and business partners. The photo above is of a cacao growers association meeting in which we cut up a whole bunch of our 68% dark chocolate for hundreds of cacao farmers to enjoy.
It went over very well.
On my brother's last trip to Peru, he took down a nice selection of our new products and they were a hit too. There are a couple of things that really stand out during these tastings.First, it is awesome that we aren't just bringing them something that is middle of the road.
We are sharing with them chocolate that is world class.It is made using the best processing techniques in a country where people take chocolate very seriously, Switzerland.The company who makes our chocolate has been around for 120 years and they know what they are doing.
Our farm partners are getting an interpretation of their plants that is as good as we know how to make it.But the second thing, and this is the more touching part, is how the cacao farmers identify with the chocolate.We hear these kinds of comments over and over again.
"This is pure."
"This is from here."
"This is ours."
They can taste and feel that the chocolate starts on their land.
Here is an amazing story. My mother Kit has two long lost siblings.
My maternal grandfather, Myron Goldman, had two children with my maternal grandmother, Sybil. Those two children were named Kit and Carl Goldman. In addition, Myron had two other kids with two other woman, whom he abandoned. He ended up leaving Sybil, Kit, and Carl as well.
Later on in life, Kit and Carl managed to track down my uncle Sim and then my Aunt Valerie, their siblings who they didn't know for most of their lives.The series of events leading up to the reunification are too wild and dramatic for me to squeeze into a single email.
But as it pertains to the idea of recognizing what is yours, it was clear straight away that Sim and Valarie were of the same lineage as Kit and Carl. It was clear by sight and clear by energy.
In particular, my uncle Sim and my brother Brian look very much alike and have very similar mannerisms and talking styles.Not only that. When you hear somebody is your blood uncle, you automatically connect with them, even if you've never met them before.
That is how I felt the first time I met Sim.Something in the human makeup alerts us when we are in the presence of what belongs to us.
Cacao farmers can feel it in their bones when they are eating chocolate made with their cacao. It touches them. And blood calls blood.
A grandchild loves their grandparents just because of who they are in relation to each other. You love your kids deeply the first time you see them, even though you don't know them yet and have no history with them.And a long lost aunt or uncle means as much as one you've known your whole life.
At this point, I feel compelled to wrap up this email with lyrics from a song I love because I think it expressed the feeling that I am trying to convey better than I will be able to.
Without further ado.
I Only Have Eyes for You by The Flamingos.
My love must be a kind of blind love I can't see anyone but you
(Sha bop sha bop) (Sha bop sha bop) (Sha bop sha bop) (Sha bop sha bop) (Sha bop sha bop)
Are the stars out tonight (sha bop sha bop) I don't know if it's cloudy or bright (sha bop sha bop) I only have eyes for you dear (Sha bop sha bop) The moon may be high (Sha bop sha bop) But I can't see (sha bop sha bop) a thing in the sky I only have eyes for you I don't know if we're in a garden. Or on a crowded avenue You are here (Sha bop sha bop) And so am I (Sha bop sha bop) Maybe millions of people (sha bop sha bop) go by But they all disappear from view---And I only have eyes for you.
i hope that you have a truly blessed day!