A new range of chocolates burst on the scene last year co-created by Makaya Chocolat from Haiti and Definite Chocolate from the Dominican Republic (DR).
The two companies have been participating in the Cocoa/Chocolate Binational Value Chain Project which focusses on enhancing the competitiveness of companies in Haiti and the DR operating in the cocoa sector.
Master chocolatiers Ralph Leroy (MAKAYA) and Jens Kamin (Definite Chocolate) met through a best-practices mission organized by Caribbean Export which sought to facilitate the exchange of ideas and best-practices between industry practitioners. After several virtual elaboration meetings in February and March 2022, these master chocolatiers met in person on May 2022 at the Definite Chocolate’s laboratory to finalize their joint recipe and share their knowhow; from the selection of the cocoa pods, to the tempering of the grains, to the roasting and wise mixing of the ganache.
Together they created a chocolate collection that combines the history of cocoa from both countries, while using recipes that highlight organic indigenous ingredients, such as coffee, cashews and peanuts, and common traditions.
This initiative was funded by the European Union and implemented in collaboration with the Haiti Jazz Foundation and Caracoli through their Gastronomic component of the Binational Cultural Dialogue.
The collection was presented on July 9, 2022 by the two chocolatiers during the ‘2nd Dominican Chocolate Festival’ held in Santo Domingo at the Ágora Mall shopping center. The launch was a resounding success attracting thousands and showcasing the potential of binational collaboration and co-production.
This special collection was also presented at the Salon du Chocolat Show in Paris, France in October 2022, as part of the promotional efforts of this Binational Cocoa/Chocolate Value Chain. The international exposure and audience acceptance was quite high resulting in the collection selling out.
The co-creation of a Binational chocolate collection between a Haitian and Dominican company is the first of its kind. The two countries share the same land space of the Hispaniola Island which has the indigenous name also known as ‘Quisqueya’ and believed to mean “mother of all lands” in the Taíno language. The three chocolate bars in this collection are inspired by the names of the island tribe chiefs (caciques) that ruled the five chiefdoms (cacicazgos) that are now cocoa-producing provinces:
Guacana, inspired by Guacanagaríx, chief of Marien (North Haiti and Northwest DR): a chocolate enriched with a pinch of coffee from our mountains.
Guario, inspired by Guarionex, chief of Magua (central region of the island): a chocolate filled with peanut ganache.
Caya, named after the chief Cayacao, from the cacicazgo of Higüey (another part of the island producing cocoa, on the Eastern tip): a deliciously perfumed chocolate with cashew nuts and enriched with pieces of nuts.