This is a story about a unique collaboration between Restaurant Vinkeles and one of their favourite suppliers: Original Beans. A unique, Dutch chocolate brand that aims to restore the biodiversity of forests by selling bars. Making the world better through chocolate, is what they call it. Dieuwertje Wills, responsible for customers & sales in the Benelux, explains.
“We make ‘Origins Chocolate’, which means our bars are made from beans that grow in the wild, instead of growing in a plantation. Regular brands purchase their beans in huge stacks from distributors. They don’t know exactly where their beans come from – but generally all the chocolate you buy in the supermarket grows on plantations in Ghana or the Ivory Coast. On those plantations the trees are intensively worked to produce as much beans as they possibly can – like chickens in a battery cage. That is not how we work. We know exactly where our beans originate from. Three of our employees spend eight months a year on the grounds in South-America, Africa and Indonesia, searching for the best coffee beans. And by searching we really mean searching; for that one tree, tucked away in the forest, that grows perfect beans. Those trees grow wildly, hidden, shaded. It takes much longer for the beans to grow, but it is more sustainable, and the quality of the beans is downright unique.
One Tree One Bar
When we discover an area with good trees, our cooperation’s teach the local farmers how they can work the trees in order to grow the best quality beans in a sustainable way. The locals often don’t care for cacao – they don’t use it. Teaching them those skills, means they gain a whole new source of revenue. And our One Tree One Bar program supports this. We plant a seedling for every chocolate bar sold, protecting the habitat of local flora and fauna, empowering farmers, and ensuring heritage cacao trees remain for future generations. With the revenue, they earn we offer the farmers to purchase those seedlings back for a small amount.
You know what I dream of? I dream of a chocolate plancha. Big chunks on a plate, with a hot knife to cut them. And next to that, glasses filled with the best rum and whiskey. It is hard to find the right combination of chocolate and spirits, but when you do there is no comparison. I do believe we are heading towards a world in which chocolate is more of a luxe commodity. It’s like coffee and wine: if you use good beans, you can actually taste the soil, the particularities of a region, the weather. That makes chocolate a fascinating product. There is a whole world to discover. But it takes times before this settles into people’s heads. We have to take them step by step.”
Special Chocolate made for Chef Dennis Kuipers
In collaboration, there has been a special chocolate bar made for Chef Dennis Kuipers. This special bar is made out of 75% Piura Malingas which is described to be fruity and light with notes of lemon, red berry and passionfruit. The cacao for this special chocolate bar is considered to be one of the rarest cacao beans on the planet. This bean has it origin in the Piura Valley in Peru where it grows between the delicate Peru Butterflies. In Restaurant Vinkeles this beautiful chocolate has been combined in a dessert with Blood orange.