Africa's first sustainably sourced chocolate brand to be introduced to the USA market
African sustainability has never been 100 per cent African on its own initiative - that's where it becomes unclear who has benefited most from it. Certainly not Africans, and the continent as a whole. Because the inequitable truth is that over 70% of the world's cocoa is grown in Africa, yet only 3% of chocolate is made in Africa - even less by Africans themselves.
So how does Africa achieve sustainability? Not by charity; charity to Africa is not sustainable. The only truly long-term endeavor is to facilitate and allow Africans to do it for themselves, and that's why De Villiers Chocolate is driven to create the very best chocolate possible - with ingredients sourced across the African continent, passionately crafted by Africans, for Africans.
They believe this is true sustainability and with your help, they hope to raise sufficient crowd funding to introduce their sustainably sourced new African chocolate flavors to the USA - the first African-originated UTZ Certified chocolate initiative.
De Villiers Chocolate has been a journey 10 years in the making. From an exploration of the vast African continent in search of the finest cocoa beans, and a backyard garage hobby using recycled home appliances as equipment, to an obsession with the richness and diversity of a single origin chocolate, which continues to this day.
Along the way their passion for traditionally crafted, authentic products led them into coffee and homemade ice cream. These are produced and sold at their Spice Route Café in Paarl, a historic Cape Dutch estate and key attraction in the heart of South Africa's Cape Winelands.
Classed among the finest cocoa beans in the world, the crops grown in the tropical, rainy Bundibugyo district of Western Uganda produce a cocoa bean rich in a complexity of flavors. De Villiers Chocolate uses only these UTZ Certified beans because supporting sustainable cocoa farming is vitally important to Africa's future.
Thanks to the three voluntary sustainable standards (VSS) bodies actively involved in the sector, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ, the percentage of certified cocoa sold worldwide has increased significantly, from a mere 2% in 2008 to 31% in 2017.
"Once we discovered the cocoa beans of the vibrant Bundibugyo region in Uganda, we began to realize the potential of the journey we had embarked upon. It became our mission to create a chocolate brand true to its origin and the exotic taste of Africa." - Pieter de Villiers, CEO and Master Chocolate Maker at De Villiers Chocolate.
This is a brand with a conscience and a big heart firmly grounded in Africa. True to their ethos, they believe their chocolate should reflect true artisanal values, thus all ingredients are sourced ethically, mindful of doing no harm to people, animals and the environment. They also use no palm oil, because the importance of preserving the rainforests and protecting the health of the planet is fundamental to this philosophy.
It's heartening to see that they care as much about what they put into their chocolate as what they leave out - no artificial flavors, colorants, stabilizers or preservatives, and absolutely no hydrogenated vegetable oils. Only unrefined brown sugar is used, and all products are naturally gluten free. Following a worldwide trend towards a vegan lifestyle, their dark chocolate is vegan and boasts many health benefits.
With their positioning as the first African-originated UTZ Certified chocolate brand, De Villiers are hoping to bring their distinctive new products and intriguing new flavors to the USA, with a diverse range designed to provide an indulgent exploration of sensory delights with unique African flavor profiles.
The new range created for the USA market underlines their commitment to quality and authenticity throughout their chocolate making process, and encompasses every ingredient - from sea salt sourced from the pans of the West Coast of South Africa, vanilla pods obtained from Uganda, and their handmade honeycomb developed in their kitchens by a renowned chef - to the coffee beans, which they roast themselves.
They lovingly handcraft their own creamy caramel, crunchy biscotti, and roast their almonds and flavorful coconut. This allows them to continually explore and develop unique inclusions and flavor combinations that reflect Africa's passion and personality.