Ethical Brazilian brand Dengo Chocolates, founded in 2017 as a social impact business whose aim is to generate a decent living income for small cocoa farmers in south Bahia, has opened a swish, new concept store in São Paulo.
The 1500m² four-floor Fábrica de Dengo is located on Faria Lima Avenue, one of the main shopping streets in the state capital, and is designed to offer visitors a true immersion in the universe of chocolate and other produce from small local producers including specialty coffee, cheese and wine.
A spokesperson for Dengo Chocolates, which has 19 retail stores in the country’s main cities including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasília, said the flagship store was designed by architects Matheus Farah and Manoel Maia, from MFMM Architecture, and built entirely of wood in partnership with Amata Brasil.
It is the first building in Brazil built of engineered wood, a technique considered the future of construction in the country.
According to Maia, the wood offers comfort and cosiness, one of the main goals of the new location, born as a refuge from urban daily routine. Besides that, it aligns with one of the cornerstones of the brand: sustainability. “The parts come to the building site ready to be assembled, which allows for a significant reduction in residue. It is a clean construction,” he said.
On the ground floor visitors are invited to become acquainted with the whole bean-to-bar process of chocolate manufacturing - from cocoa beans to chocolate.
“The sensorial experience begins with sacks of cocoa beans that come from south Bahia. With the aid of VR headsets and sound interventions it is possible to feel as if one is on the cabruca, where cacao trees are grown surrounded by native vegetation,” said a Dengo Chocolates’ spokesperson.
“From then on, transparent ducts transport the cocoa beans to different equipment, where they are roasted, broken and taken to a big mélanger, that is in charge of refining and conching of the chocolate.”
This machine is a restored 1940s model, and will be the main attraction of the microfactory.
Other parts of the Dengo Chocolates’ concept store include a café and pastry and Estação Meu Dengo , where visitors can make their own chocolate bars (personalized from ingredient to packaging) and an ice-cream store specialized in chocolate and Brazilian fruits.
The second floor is inspired by Bahia’s coastline and boasts a restaurant and a bar - and there is also a Chocolate Library that offers bean-to-bar products from other Brazilian small brands.