Ara, the Epic of a Couple of Artisan Chocolate Makers
Our meeting with Ara took place in the Parisian chocolate factory in the 10th arrondissement of Andrés and Sabrina. In the middle of a garbage collectors' strike, the City of Lights was accumulating mounds of garbage and this strange period gave us nothing to predict such a chocolate encounter... Once you cross the threshold of the door, the smell of roasted cocoa hits you provides an immediate feeling of comfort. The young couple of artisan chocolatiers express their love at first sight with the cocoa tree through their creations. The world of chocolate is a universe apart, where passion combines with the delicate art of processing beans.
Andres & Sabrina
In this taste adventure, there are exceptional artisans who stand out for their dedication and love for cocoa. Ara Chocolat, founded by the Venezuelan couple, is one of these gems in the Bean-to-Bar world.
The Awakening of Passion
Between a bite of chocolate filled with black olive, we asked Andrés the origin of his passion for cocoa and chocolate?
It all began in 2006, when Andrés fulfilled his childhood dream of being a chef in a Michelin-starred restaurant in London and returned to Venezuela to visit his family in the Paria peninsula, located on the east coast. In this region located between long Caribbean beaches and lush tropical forests, Andrés discovered the cocoa tree: a genetic complexity and a new aromatic palette that he did not know despite his profession. This meeting awakened in him a new passion, that of the bean. Once back in England, Andrés makes the bold decision to become a chocolatier, leaving his chef's apron behind.
The Quest for Knowledge
In 2008, driven by the desire to learn everything he could about cocoa and how to process the beans, Andrés returned to Venezuela. His ambition is clear: to create his own chocolate factory, experiment with different varieties of cocoa, taste each bean with particular attention, and create exceptional bars with aromatic Amazonian cocoa.
The big leap, but for two
In 2015, supported by his partner Sabrina, they launched Chocolaterie Ara together. A company also engaged in the quest for the origins of cocoa and thus works from carefully chosen beans directly from small producers and cooperatives in Latin America only. For them, working without intermediaries (or even ethical sources like Silva or Latitude), is a fundamental value which guarantees chocolates of rare quality. The story of Ara Chocolat is that of a sensory journey through cocoa varieties, originating on the beaches of the Caribbean, and highlighting an enduring commitment to local producers.
Our back-to-school favorite
It is the story of Andrés and Sabrina, but also that of cocoa, diversity, and the love for exceptional craftsmanship. With Ara, we selected a tablet that would be the most iconic for Chocolats du Monde subscribers. We are happy to send you a signature tablet that totally won us over:
A bar with natural caramel flavors that evokes a gentle walk in a dense tropical forest, imprinted with undergrowth, humus, and a floral bouquet. Concluding with fruity notes of candied plum, typical of Peruvian cocoa.
The cocoa comes from the Peruvian farm “Virginia”. This is the cocoa variety Theobroma cacao L, cv. Amazonico, which is a subcategory of Nacional with extremely pure genetics. The farm is a member of Cooperativa Agroindustrial Cacao Alto Huallaga, an association of cocoa producers from the Alto Huallaga valley in Peru. Thanks to the cooperative, the cocoa is Fairtrade labeled and UTZ certified (without deformation). To improve processes, the cooperative has set up collection centers in communities to facilitate fermentation in less than 24 hours after picking.