Hello and good day!
Before I delve into a substantive insight that I'd like to share with you, please allow me to take care of a little business.
Photo 1 above is of a newly flowering cacao tree and a brand-new baby cacao pod. We are in the time of year now when cacao trees are flowering.
When the rain dies down, dry weather causes cacao trees to flower and sprout pods. Then, starting around the middle of January, the rains will come on hard and this will cause the baby pods to fill out, plump, and ripen.
Once there are enough ripe pods, the harvest will begin in earnest, usually around the end of February.
For the 16th year in a row, we'll once again heavily buy and process cacao until the harvest fizzles out, usually around the end of August.
We'll be buying cacao from Don Becho yet again. He is the fellow in photo 2, standing next to my brother Brian. We'll be buying cacao from Doña Angelina Vargas as well, who you can see in photo number 3. Becho and Angelina were both early believers in our project.
Back in the beginning, most of the cacao farmers in the region were suspicious of gringos coming around wanting to buy their cacao.
But enough folks like Don Fortunato, who our company is named after, Don Becho, who is one of the shrewdest and wealthiest men in the region even though you can't tell because he walks around barefoot with his pants rolled up all the time, and Doña Angelina who is one of the happiest, hardest working, and most vibrant people you will ever meet, believed in us.
They gave us credibility and because of their lead, many others followed.
We'll be buying cacao from more than 500 farm families in the district of Huarango in northern Peru in 2024. If it weren't for them, we wouldn't have a company.
They have delicious cacao growing on their farms and everything we do is built on top of that.
Now on to photos 4 and 5.
I have just put a new product online. It is a collection of our most popular inclusion bars.
The box comes with six bars, including one that isn't online yet as a standalone bar.
The selection is as follows:
Jalapeño Pumpkin Seed Pistachio Dark Milk Chocolate Bar
Strawberries Cranberries And Nibs Milk Chocolate Bar
Mango Chili Dark Milk Chocolate Bar
Quinoa And Chía Dark Milk Chocolate Bar
Key Lime Cookie Milk Chocolate Bar
Orange Blueberry Dark Milk Chocolate Bar
Each of those bars normally goes for $8.99 and the price of the box is $8.99 x 6 which, if my math is right, is $53.94.
The bars come in a lovely blue box with gold ribbon that my wife picked out.
And because the price of the box is already over the free shipping threshold, each box will automatically ship for free.
Before moving on to a point that I'd like to make, please allow me to assure you that each and every one of these bars is a stone-cold winner.
I know because I ate one of each in preparation for the launch.
God, I love my job sometimes!
I wanted to make sure that whoever buys this will have a great experience and I can say with certainty that each of these bars is delicious and a lot of fun.
I don't have space here to provide a full flavor description of each bar, but I have included a full flavor breakdown on the product page.
To learn more about the box, simply click the link below and scroll down to the bottom of our product page.
Now on to several things that I must say.
First, I love my wife and I am so proud of her. She is the hardest working person I know, and she is so smart and talented. She insisted that we put this box out today and no later.
I told her that I didn't think we had the bandwidth, but she was very passionate about the concept. Every night for the last two weeks after I went to bed, she stayed up late nailing down all the details and putting everything together. This was her idea, and she did pretty much everything to make it happen.
I might as well go ahead and share that I've always loved my wife Nery's amazing work ethic. It was one of the main things that made me think we could build a life together.
She is beautiful and smart and funny, and she has an excellent charming laugh.
When I first met her in Cajamarca Peru, back when I was 20 and she was 21, she was living in a tiny room with a roommate.
The whole place was nothing more than a single room with bunkbeds, a bathroom, and that was it. The shower was heated by an electric shower head and if you touched the metal shower nob for too long, you could feel the electric current going into your hand.
She had been working two jobs, six and half days a week, her only time off being Sunday afternoon, and supporting herself from the age of 17 on, when she left home.
That is very rare in Peru, where most girls live at home until they get married.
She is a creative and independent soul, and I am the luckiest man in the world to be married to her.
We're a real live family business over here at Fortunato Chocolate.
Next, I have to shout out our chocolatier Javier Valencia and his production crew, Rosa, Chano, Wilfredo, Leonila, Geovani, Macedonio, Urby, and Claudia.
Neither Nery, nor me, nor my brother Brian, nor the cacao farmers in Peru, nor our processing team in campo, nor my dad can take any credit whatsoever for the delicious creations that come out of the kitchen.
We give the kitchen staff a free hand and they are prolific.
I love going into the kitchen on days when they are making jalapeno bars.
You can feel the chili fumes in the air.
They chop and dehydrate fresh jalapenos to make that bar and it is so unique and wonderful.
Here is what I am driving at.
The loveliest part of being a business owner is seeing your team grow and mesh.
Most small businesses fail.
However, if you fight and persevere and manage to scrap your way into sustainability, the ultimate reward is a great team.
I bet that many people think the reward is money.
But to me it isn't.
Money funds the work.
Nothing beats seeing your team create art day in and day out.
Our team is 500 cacao farm families, 35 processing facility employees in Peru, 15 full time employees in Issaquah, WA, our family, and if you are reading this, we consider you to be part of the team too.
A business can't exist without its wonderful customers.
We're all in this thing together.
Thank you so much for time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
Click here for wonderful chocolate made with pure Nacional cacao.
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