From above and to the untrained eye this looks like a heap of headless people running around. Below the surface endless connections where being made among cocoa producers, chocolate makers and endless chocoholics at Chocoa - for me the best chocolate fair I've been to by far so far.
I had already quite high expectations for my first visit to Amsterdam, but I did not expect to come home buzzing with so many new ideas and having met so many wonderful people who are incredibly passionate about what they do and about how they try to contribute to change the current chocolate market bringing in their full person and energy.
There were so many topics discussed from the extreme market imbalance which will never allow farmers to achieve higher prices, converting the "candy" back to "food" and with it recognizing all the cultural aspects of cacao production and consumption, creating standards for tasting and grading cacao, creating a clear vocabulary for the craft and bean to bar movement, watching out on what will happen with the new Cadmium regulation, deforestation, biodiversity, and social justice topics just to mention some. And of course, tasting all the award-winning chocolate from the best chocolate makers around the world and get a grasp of all the new trends in chocolate making.
I ran out of space on my notebook, brain, and suitcase. I will take the next two weeks to present some of the most vibrant people I met and to share the best chocolate bars I found.
For the moment I leave you with the podcast from the Vegan Human Journalist who interviewed me on my way back from a company called Trading Organic, producers of organic cocoa liquor. It's not the best but it is a primer. Listen to it here
For me, Chocoa is really the place to be if you are only remotely interested in chocolate and a definite can't miss for next year. The newborn in the cacao pod, work from Mexican indigenous people, for me as a symbol for all the ideas that have been placed in my head as seeds to be worked on for the future