AMMA is a “passionate meeting of people who love what they do and who want to change the world by doing what they love”.
Brazil was once one of the largest exporters of cacao in the world; however, in the late 1980s, in the face of plant-diseases such as ‘Witches Broom’ and ‘Black Pod’, the shoots, flowers and pods of the cocoa trees were attacked. Cacao production reduced significantly. To overcome this, cacao producers began growing hardier beans, typically of the ‘Forastero’ variety, which meant switching from growing diverse fine cacao varieties to then growing rather mono-varietal, disease-resistant cacao.
In pursuit of restoring Brazil’s reputation of growing fine-flavour cacao, partners Diego and Luiza in 2002 returned to the traditional cacao-growing family farms in the South of Bahia, Brazil. The mission was to promote organic planting of cacao in the Bahia region, which would in turn ensure the preservation of the forest and the livelihood of the families of rural workers in the region.
In 2005, Diego took the cacao beans grown within his family’s farm to the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, showcasing them directly to European chocolate makers. Many makers were astounded by the quality of the Bahia beans. Included amongst these makers was François Pralus who travelled to Bahia to learn about the planting, fermentation and drying practices of the farms and to build a direct sourcing relationship with Diego and Luiza.
Pralus then started to craft chocolate bars from Diego’s cacao, launching their first chocolate bars at Pralus’ factory to showcase Amma’s potential to prospective cacao buyers and chocolate makers.
In 2007, Frederick Schilling, founder of Dagoba Organic Chocolate, after receiving samples of Diego’s cacao, visited Bahia. Enthralled, Federick started to build a craft chocolate factory in Brazil, which soon became AMMA Chocolate. Luiza, a renowned Brazilian artist, is responsible for the designing of the packaging.