Amazing experience, Twin in 'Chocoa 2017'
Posted by Cristina Ruiz on 2 March 2017
Twin has attended the chocolate and cocoa trade fair 'Chocoa' for the first-time from 23rd -24th February 2017 in Amsterdam, http://www.chocoa.nl/
Chocolate has the potential to present wildly varied flavours which are connected to the soil and climate where the cocoa beans are harvested. The story behind those beans are becoming part of the flavour. Twin presented an exceptional chocolate last week at 'Chocoa', made with Sierra Leonean beans from our project in Gola forest in Kenema. Twin is working with cocoa farmers living on the edge of Sierra Leone’s Gola Rainforest National Park, the region forms part of the Upper Guinea rainforest and is under severe threat from logging and agricultural expansion. This is a very inspirational project which Twin is implementing together with The Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB https://www.rspb.org.uk/) who have been working in forest conservation in the area for many years.
Over the past year, working hard with 2000 farmers on extension services, quality, coop creation, governance and business management, farmers were able to collect and process the first cocoa ready for export (12.5 MT). These beans were used to make chocolate and liquor (thanks to Chocolate Makers in the Netherlands - www.chocolatemakers.nl/ which we brought to our stand in Chocoa and caused a wonderful and surprising stir amongst chocolate makers! Sierra Leone has a reputation in the market for producing lower quality beans and we are already on the road to changing that.
For me personally, having visited Kenema last October and met the farmers and witnessed all their hard work on processing and fermentation, it was a pleasure to hear such positive feedback!
We also had the opportunity to be part of one of the panels about post-conflict situations where alongside CRS (Haiti) and Original Beans (DRC). Twin Associate Albert Tucker was able to share with the audience the challenges and opportunities of Sierra Leone in the cocoa market.
Another delight was to attend the cocoa/chocolate based dinner on Thursday with excellent chefs and variety of dishes.