Our chocolate bars in collaboration with Rio Nuevo
There are many things that motivate us at Louise Misha and among them are the people we meet. These encounters are always filled with meaning and inspire us to create beautiful stories together to go ever further in what we do.
For this year’s holiday festivities, we are thrilled to have co-created attractive chocolate bars made from the famous, refined Arriba Nacional cacao (we’ll tell you more about this further on in the article) blended with natural raspberry extracts for a more refined gourmet treat. The flavor, after testing and much deliberation, was chosen by our team along with the family of Marie, Louise Misha’s creator.
For the packaging, you’ll no doubt recognize our Khaki Folk Flowers print, one of our favorites this season! We used this motif to “dress” these delicious chocolate bars in Louise Misha’s colors … All we can say is that they’re as pretty as they are tasty! We can’t wait to hear your “feedback” about them!
The story of this collaboration
It began 10 years ago when Claire, our CEO, first met Andres and later his wife Sara, the couple who founded the Rio Nuevo Chocolate brand. They are an incredibly kind couple with a generous heart who are always ready to help people. Claire met Andres when they were both living in Hackney, an East London neighborhood. At the time, each was already imagining, in their own way, a variety of entrepreneurial projects. Claire remembers Andres as someone who was always in a good mood, with lots of ideas and a positive outlook.
During that period each moved from apartment to apartment, they were even roommates at one point, and eventually Andres met Sara so Claire was present for the early days of their romance. Though her career path took her to Chicago and thousands of kilometers separated them, she and Andres stayed in touch over the years. Because of the distance, Claire couldn’t go to their wedding in Ecuador where their Rio Nuevo adventure began but then destiny called and now, years later, they are working together.
Since Andres is from Ecuador and Sara from Colombia, they were married in Ecuador, a place that means a lot to both of them. The Rio Nuevo brand was born as a result of their marriage when the locals showed them how to make chocolate.
They then learned about the difficulties cacao producers must deal with and the propagation of CCN-51, an inferior type of cacao that threatens the heritage of Ecuador’s highly-refined cacao beans.
Almost a hundred thousand families depend on cacao farming for their income. Andres and Sara decided to take on the challenge and shift how the chocolate industry can help develop and nurture sustainable livelihoods for the cacao farming communities.
Our paths crossed again because Sara and Andres created something that resembles them, comes from their heart and has a positive, healthy approach, much like our philosophy at Louise Misha. At both of our companies, we believe in focusing on beautiful things and beautiful values. So for this year’s holiday festivities, we are proud to offer a co-creation with Rio Nuevo chocolate “dressed” by Louise Misha! And for the occasion, Sara will tell us a bit more about how their chocolate is produced.
Why this Rio Nuevo x Louise Misha collaboration?
Our friendship with Louise Misha goes back in time through Claire. We’re very excited to be working together in this collaboration, we’ve known Claire for over 10 years and as friends we share values that are reflected in the companies we’re building.
We’re happy to be working together with people and a company that aligns with our values: quality, purpose, transparency community and sustainability. Both, Rio Nuevo and Louise Misha highly value people, our producers, our customers and the role each play in their communities.
We believe empowering people brings about positive change and that through business we can advocate for a better way of doing things. This is why we chose to collaborate and donate 10% of profits from this limited edition chocolate bar to Solidarité Femmes, a French association close to our hearts that helps women victims of domestic violence.
Explanation of the production
Partnering with farmers in the production process of cacao is an essential part of what we do. We source the highest quality cacao beans directly from small scale farmers in Ecuador, ensuring in this way that they receive a fair price for their produce and that the cacao has been carefully selected, fermented and dried before we can start the manufacturing process in the UK.
Ecuador is the leading producer of fine flavour cacao in the world, a variety called Arriba Nacional. Only 6-8% of cacao produced in the world is fine flavour of which 54% is produced in Ecuador! but this Arriba Nacional variety is threatened by higher yield and lower quality varieties, this is why it’s important to us to work directly with local farmers to help preserve Ecuador’s cacao heritage while also handcrafting delicious chocolate that highlights the fine and aromatic quality and unique flavour of this variety.
Explanation of the manufacturing process
Premium chocolate comes only from quality beans that have been handled with care. To craft each bar of dark chocolate we carefully roast the cacao beans to showcase their flavour profile, the cacao is then winnowed, stone-ground and tempered with care in micro batches to ensure consistency and premium quality.