AFRIKOA is the first bean-to-bar company in South Africa to produce chocolate made from cocoa sourced directly from African farmers. By trading directly with the farmers, Afrikoa ensures the freshest, finest-quality cocoa beans and empowers the farmers to create their own sustainable futures. Their cocoa beans never leave the continent, travelling just far enough to the southern tip of Africa, where their experienced chocolate-makers create the perfect chocolate bar.
While almost two thirds of the world’s cocoa is grown in Africa, most of it is exported to Europe and America where it is turned into chocolate before being returned to our African shores. Afrikoa believes in growing the art of chocolate-making within Africa and supporting the farmers and their local communities, which is why they have made a promise that their chocolate will always be made in Africa, for Africa, using cocoa beans that have never left the continent.
Afrikoa’s search for the best African cocoa beans led their Head Chocolate Maker, Antonino Allegra, to the small rural region of Kyela in Tanzania where he met two groups of passionate farmers headed by Castor Sanga and Simon Mwakyusa who were both frustrated with a system which left their hard work and excellent-quality cocoa beans with little reward. It was while sitting in a traditional meeting under the shade of a cocoa tree that Antonino realized the mutual benefit of simply buying the cocoa beans straight from these farmers.
Afrikoa believes that this partnership, which treats the farmers with fairness, dignity and respect, is the future of chocolate and one that also means you can enjoy their chocolate knowing that you are encouraging a sustainable future for these 60 farmers and their families.
Direct trade means that the cocoa beans are sourced directly from cocoa farmers, cutting out all the traditional middlemen, buyers, sellers and organisations that control certifications, all of whom add their own profit margins to the beans the farmers have worked so hard to grow. By trading directly with the farmers, Afrikoa ensures the finest-quality cocoa beans while the cocoa farmers earn 250% more than they would the traditional way.
Yet another benefit of direct trade is fresh cocoa; while the traditional cocoa bean trading system means that the majority of chocolate makers buy their cocoa from Europe, it also means that these cocoa beans sit in massive warehouses for months and lose valuable flavour. By trading directly with farmers, Afrikoa receives the cocoa beans within weeks of them leaving the farms in Kyela. Fresh cocoa beans are highly aromatic and packed with flavour and we believe that this is what makes AFRIKOA chocolate so unique.
Direct trade is certainly not the easiest route and Afrikoa have faced many challenges and gone to great lengths to do so successfully. While the process sounds simpler, removing all the middlemen also means removing traditional transport systems and starting from scratch. Often the best cocoa is grown off the beaten track and getting the cocoa beans from farmers in Kyela to the shipping port of Dar Es Salaam now requires a 12-hour journey by truck via dirt roads – a long trip that Castor and Simon take themselves in order to make sure their beans arrive safely and just one of the many examples of their passion and eagerness to empower themselves. At each step of the process, AFRIKOA provides them with support, knowledge and resources. While direct trade is a challenge very few chocolate makers undertake, Afrikoa believes in it because sometimes the right way isn’t always the easiest way.
You can order Afrikoa chocolate here
Author: Samantha Shorky
Serves: 4 to 6
- 1 cup soaked cashews
- 1 cup soaked dates in 1 cup water
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg + more to garnish
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- Pinch of sea salt
- Combine all ingredients in a blender (including the water you soaked the dates in) and blend until smooth and frothy. This can take a few minutes in an older blender.
- Transfer to a container and chill in the refrigerator until needed.
- When ready to serve, place back into blender to allow more frothing because mixture can separate. Pour into mugs and garnish with fresh grated nutmeg.
Here we are, wrapping up the year. A busy time for some and some relaxation time for others. We hope this month brings you a sense of community and love.
Unicorn Cafe was very lucky to have the services of Jess who was our intern for the months of October and November. She helped contact many suppliers for ethical products, images and information, and loaded them onto our website. The website now has numerous products including suppliers that feature in the Beauty Without Cruelty’s humane guide as well as gardening products like seedling mixes, compost, straw bales and other things that are not easy to find at mainstream nurseries.
She dealt professionally with customers and other tasks and we will miss her friendly, helpful disposition and extremely proficient business knowledge. She returns to study in December and will be completing a masters degree next year. Thank you Jess for all your help.
Please keep checking in our website as it is growing all the time.
We are still in the twilight zone of needing alternative income to keep this unicorn business alive and we are playing the cautious card before we completely let go of that substitute income and find premises. We looked around the area and are happy to say that Milnerton is undergoing a lot of development. We have our heart set on a small space with an outside courtyard and we are crossing our fingers that it will still be available next year. We didn’t want to take the risk and open now when many of our customers go away for the holidays and businesses that would potentially order lunch close.
Veganism seems to be exploding all around the world and also here in Cape Town. I remember how difficult it was some 17 years ago to find a variety of convenience foods compared to now. Now that climate change and crimes against the environment are almost impossible to ignore, more and more people are adopting more plants into their diets. We can reduce our negative environmental impact one vegan meal at a time. If you are new to making vegan meals, fear not. There are so many websites, guides, Youtube videos and Facebook groups to guide and support old time vegans, new vegans and those who would like to reduce their impact by incorporating more plants into their diet. It could even be for health reasons, to be part of meat free mondays, to get more variety of foods, to experiment with new dishes and save water. Phew! That was a mouthful!
In case you didn’t know, we thought these websites would help answer any questions your may have or provide support about compassionate living. It’s not easy making ethical choices in a world that is haunted by a system run for profits where ethics are left behind. Here is a list of websites we find very useful when it comes to finding suppliers, restaurants and general information.
Lastly, but not least we are delighted that we have the Cape Town Vegan who makes amusing videos and eloquently writes reviews about ‘vegany’ things. He seems to live the life of a spoilt vegan socialite but we are only saying that because we are jealous. He goes to some interesting restaurants, spends time with fabulous vegan people making fantastic food and he is generally a ray of sunshine helping you find the right place for the right thing. We love his videos and his website. Check them out and be sure to watch the Vegan Food Guide for Tourists in Cape Town.
We hope you have a wonderful December and that you all stay safe and relatively healthy this season and we hope to have some magical surprises for you next year.
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Unicorn Café is the exclusive supplier of Beauty Without Cruelty merchandise and delicious plant based delicacies, pantry products, clothing, recipe books and environmentally friendly alternatives for daily living.