In Ivory Coast, natural chocolate made with a bicycle

Dana Mroueh’s chocolate manufacturing unit is a rarity for Ivory Coast and never solely as a result of the world’s prime cocoa grower produces treasured little completed chocolate.

In the midst of the ground of her firm Mon Choco’s manufacturing unit sits a grinding bike, surrounded by trays of fastidiously sorted cocoa beans. Poured in a funnel, beans are remodeled right into a paste by a grinder activated by pedaling.

Mroueh, a 40-year-old Ivorian of French-Lebanese descent, oversees the method from the time the beans are chosen to when they’re remodeled into candies, producing natural and environmentally pleasant chocolate bars.

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“We actually need to have a minimal influence on the setting by utilizing as little electrical energy as attainable,” Mroueh stated as she supervised a small workforce of workers in white coats sorting the beans.

“My chocolate is made up of 70 % cocoa and 30 % brown sugar. We don’t add cocoa butter or plant oil. It’s solely uncooked cocoa and sugar,” Mroueh stated.

The cocoa trade is threatening to the setting, together with by contributing to deforestation. Environmental marketing campaign teams say that Ivory Coast is liable to shedding all its forest cowl by 2034.

However natural cocoa beans are tough to seek out in Ivory Coast, the place the overwhelming majority of farmers use chemical compounds and pesticides.

In consequence, natural chocolate is pricey to supply and caters primarily to the European market. Mon Choco chocolate bars promote for round 1,500 CFA francs ($2.60), a worth that’s out of attain for many native shoppers.

Mon Choco and different initiatives of the sort are growing in Ivory Coast however characterize a distinct segment market of solely 5,000 tonnes of beans per 12 months, in a rustic that produces greater than 2 million tonnes yearly.