I am owner and chocolate maker of Mission Chocolate based in São Paulo Brazil. I have been in the chocolate industry for 18 years, I teach chocolate making classes and I have a recipe blog about working with chocolate. Before I decided to fully dedicate my life to chocolate, I took 5 months to travel through Europe to learn about desserts, pastries, and chocolate. After visiting and eating my way through 16 countries, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and opened a chocolate and desserts store.
Then I realized I had it all backwards.
I had a lot of questions, like where does chocolate come from? Where does it grow? How does it become chocolate? So I sold my store and travelled to indigenous communities in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. And then I got it right - I learned that the true power of chocolate was cacao, the source. So I moved to Brazil to be closer to cocoa producers and now work with farms and cooperatives that both respect the environment and believe in creating a great product.
Mission Chocolate has won the most awards for its Brazil Biomes collection - a series of chocolates that highlight rare, endangered, wild, and unique fruits and seeds that are native to Brazil, like Umbu and Baru. Fruits and nuts that are in danger of going extinct and are harvested and processed by families that live near them. The Umbu tree is remarkable, it grows in the desert area of Brazil, the underground root system forms bulbs that hold water, so if you are ever in the dry land and need water, the Umbu tree will have water reserves for months in between rainfalls. A fresh umbu fruit tastes like mint and lime.
In the future, Mission Chocolate will open a school and museum dedicated to chocolate and cacao.
I have also been working with indigenous women in Mexico, Guatemala, and Panama, teaching them about converting cacao and chocolate into sellable products in their regions. In Brazil, I am a founder and board member of Bean to Bar Brasil- an association that promotes quality chocolate and cocoa both in Brazil and internationally.