WHY WE ADMIRE LUISA ABRAM
Where do I begin? I first met Luisa, her sister, Andréa, and her parents at the Northwest Chocolate Festival in 2018. We instantly connected on direct sourcing, uplifting farming communities and empowering women. That said, I suspect their warm, joyful demeanor has that “connection” effect on everyone they meet!
What I admire most is her tenacity in working with her partner communities. This is where her passion lights up. It would be far easier for her to source from estate farms or farmer co-ops in Brazil. But, she has chosen to focus on harvesting wild cacao in partnership with communities living in the Amazon Forest. It’s incredibly physically demanding, uncomfortable, and often thankless work. It’s also clearing a path for more sustainable livelihoods and ecology than would otherwise exist. And, like we have, she has discovered that partnering with both men and women is key to the quality she needs for her world class chocolate.
She has harrowing sourcing stories – so follow her on Instagram. And please buy her bars. They all have a beautiful complexity, balance and flavor journey that makes for a chocolate that demands you to stop and savor. My two favorites are her 70% Rio Juruá and Rio Acará. Finally, should you meet her – ask her to tell you a story! Now, in Luisa's own words...
HOW THEY EMPOWER WOMEN
In Rio Acará, Women Led the Way
In the community in the Acará River, the women started to work with cacao in 2014 and in the beginning it was only 2 sisters. Now the husbands also collect and ferment cacao together with them.
Women in the Communities
In the far away communities, you will not find many opportunities for women. Most of them are restricted to doing household activities, cooking and taking care of the children, and are entirely dependent on the men’s money. Whenever we identify an activity in the cocoa processing which can be performed by women, we encourage and support their engagement in the chain. An example is the breaking of the pods and separation of the seeds according to their levels of ripeness. This is a very important activity for achieving good quality fermentation which requires a lot of attention and decision making, and we find that women are very suitable for this role. So, we offer them the possibility of engaging in the process and make sure that the money for the job is paid directly to them.
Women throughout the Company
Women tend to be more attentive to details than men, so, in many aspects of working with a top quality product, it comes to be really important and necessary. From the beans separation prior to fermentation, to the actual chocolate manufacture, and the customer relationship, it really comes in handy. We aim to be perfect in every step, so details are a must in our lives!
ABOUT LUISA ABRAM CHOCOLATE
Luisa Abram Chocolate was established in 2014 and is now operated by Luisa, Andréa and their family. Her chocolate can be found in specialty chocolate shops across the US and online at Caputo’s.
Factory Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Website (in Portugese): https://www.luisaabram.com.br/
Commitment to Community Partnership
No matter how far and hard to get to, I always visit the communities to understand their daily struggles and adapt protocols for their best possibilities. This way, I can always assess in what ways I can improve their lives.
It would in fact be a lot easier and more economically viable to get it from nearer farms in the Brazilian Northeast and not be bothered with logistics issues and people’s quality of life. But for me, this is really a very important part of what moves me.