Peace Corps Entrepreneurs Make Fine Chocolate in Madagascar
By Erica Burman on Thursday, May 19th, 2011
Fair trade. Organic. The food market is crowded with products touting these qualities. In the realm of chocolate, however, only one company can claim to offer a “bean to bar” organic, fair trade chocolate — chocolate made entirely in Africa. That company is Madécasse, started by Tim McCollum and Brett Beach, an enterprising pair of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Madagascar and have spent the past ten years building their business.
Madécasse came onto NPCA’s radar screen in March, when Fast Company magazine put it on their list of The 50 Most Innovative Companies in the World for “building a chocolate company in one of the poorest countries in the world.” As the company website notes, 85% of the world’s cocoa comes from Africa. Less than 1% of chocolate is made there. Because Madécasse chocolate is completely produced and packaged in Africa, each bar purchased creates four times the economic impact of fair trade cocoa beans alone.
Madécasse has also racked up kudos from Food and Wine, Wine Spectator and the New York Times, which used the word “awestruck” when describing the chocolate’s flavor. Because we are always on the lookout for RPCVs making a difference in innovative ways (and we really love chocolate), we contacted the company, and readers of NPCA’s WorldView magazine can look forward to a profile of Tim, Brett and Madécasse in the upcoming summer issue. (By the way their communications guy, Joe Salvatore, is also an RPCV.)
Of course tasting is believing. Tim and Brett’s Peace Corps experience is integral to the company, and so they graciously sent a “care package” of chocolate samples to our office. Let’s just say it didn’t last very long long.
More significantly, they also are donating 20% of total purchases made from their website’s store to NPCA’s 50th Anniversary activities. Please use code NPCA20 now through June 1, 2011 when ordering. This special anniversary deal will begin again in September 2011 (when the weather cools).