Hello and good day!
We received a shipment of chocolate 2 days ago and along with the chocolate we also received a fresh batch of cacao nibs.
If you are a fan of cacao nibs, you may have noticed that we've been sold out for the last several months. Our previous batch of nibs was roasted by a small artisanal chocolate company based in Orem, UT. The name of the company is Amano Chocolate, and they are worth looking into.
The owner is a fellow named Art Pollard, and he is one of the pioneers in the American small batch bean to bar chocolate movement. He makes excellent chocolate, and he roasts a good nib too.
To have that batch of nibs made, we had to send cacao from Peru to the port of Oakland, and then from the port of Oakland on to Utah.
However, we haven't had a container of cacao bound for the United States in quite some time. All of our recent containers have been sent to Switzerland for chocolate making.
When the pandemic hit, our wholesale business was dramatically reduced . As a result, we shifted to ecommerce and retailing and that has taken place mostly here in the United States. Now that things have normalized, wholesale demand is starting to pick up again.
In the United States, we do not plan to be getting back into wholesaling. We want all of our chocolate to be available on a direct to customer basis with no middlemen in between us and our customers.
But we can't do that in Europe, Asia, and Australia, all places where we have traditionally done a fair amount of business. The only way that chocolate lovers in other parts of the world can try our chocolate is through restaurant and chocolatier clients who use our chocolate to make their own confections.
As a result, little by little, we are reestablishing relationships with our overseas wholesale clients, to the extent that the cacao supply permits it. Our priority is direct selling in the United States, and we are unwilling to jeopardize that, come what may.
Anyhow, the upshot of all this is that it makes less and less sense to bring container loads of cacao to the United States and that means that our nib making supply chain had to change.
Instead of having our nibs made in Utah, this recent batch of nibs was made by the same company who makes our chocolate, Max Felchlin AG in Schwyz, Switzerland.
In the past, we chose not to have Felchlin make nibs for us, because we felt that Amano made better nibs. We liked the size and roast better.
This time around, we gave our specifications to Felchlin and expressed how we wanted the nibs to look and taste and they made the adjustments.
I can tell you with all honesty that the nibs we have in stock right now are as delicious and the nibs made in Utah. If you are a nibs person, these will not disappoint you. They are not bitter. The roast is lovely.They are good and crunchy. They are excellent.
In the near future, we plan to have cacao nibs manufactured by our cacao farm partners in campo. The grower's association of the District of Huarango is in the process of building a processing facility.
Those of you who join our word-of-mouth program can help us generate funds for that project so that the local economy out in campo becomes more robust.
In the meantime, though, I am a huge fan of these Felchlin made nibs. The cacao is from the very last part of the 2022 harvest, and they are delicious. Click the link all the way down below if you'd like to pick up a bag or two.
I'd like to share a couple of videos with you as well. One is our latest episode of the Chocolate Bros podcast. https://youtu.be/SE_dkNu8VsA
This second video is a video that my brother Brian asked me to send. It is a video of his daughter Amara in a dance contest. She won first place.
Of course, Brian is a proud father, but we don't send this video to brag. In this video you can see one of Peru's most famous dances, the Marinera Norteña. We figured that most folks in the United States would never even know that this dance existed and would have no reason to look into it.
Since we are a Peruvian American family, part of the value we add for our customers is giving insight into Peruvian culture.
Amara decided to move back to Peru a couple of years ago. She was born and raised in Peru while Brian was going back and forth to the jungle every two weeks building up our cacao buying and processing operation.
A few years ago, Brian moved his entire family to the United States. He'd been living in Peru for so long, 15 years, as an immigrant and he missed his home country. Amara went to school here in Washington state. She made friends and played sports, but her heart was back in Cajamarca.
She is 15 and lives with her uncles and cousins and is much happier. She is going to high school in Peru and doing very well. Brian sees her several times per year when he goes to Peru to administer our project.
One last thing before I sign off. I've noticed over the last couple of days that your principles will always be tested. Here is what I mean by that.
My brother does intermittent fasting. He doesn't eat after a certain time each day. It is a strict protocol with him, and he takes it seriously. That his part of how he has managed to stay in good shape even though he is around sweets every day.
My mom was just in town, and we all went out to dinner, Brian's family and mine, our kids and our wives. I noticed that almost instinctively, people want to get a person to bend on their morals. I don't know why that is.
We were all out to dinner and everybody, me included, made some little comment about Brian taking a break from his diet routine for this special occasion.
He didn't. And I'm glad. But it was a reminder that whatever rule we set for ourselves will be tested and we should know that going in. People will pressure you to cheat. I don't know why, but they do, even if they don't mean to.
I was standing out in front of our shop yesterday when the owner of a local coffee company walked up to me. He told me that he just nailed down distribution into airport gift shops all over the country. The distributor wants him to package an artisanal chocolate bar too under his brand.
He is a fan and customer of Fortunato Chocolate and wanted to discuss buying chocolate from us wholesale. I told him that we don't do that anymore. He promised me that this was a big opportunity. I told him that we don't want to sell any chocolate in the United States that isn't under our brand.
He asked if I could make an exception for him, since he is local, and we could do great business together. I admit to you, I weakened for a second. A small business owner will always at least ponder a sure sell.
In the end, I regained my strength, restated my position, and apologized. I told him that I still wanted to be his friend though and that he should come by for a free frozen banana dipped in chocolate any time.
I'm running out of space for now. Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!