MIA won over the judges with its Cashew Milk Chocolate bar and the pure 73% Dark Chocolate, both of which are accredited vegan. The company makes bean-to-bar chocolate in collaboration with communities in Madagascar and Ghana to increase value added and support skilled jobs on the world’s poorest continent.
Co-founder Sarah Lescrauwaet said: “We’re very proud of these awards because both flavours are a result of the partnerships that MIA creates. In Ghana, we worked with cocoa farmers and a local craft chocolate maker in Tema to explore the flavour profiles possible with rich Ghanaian cocoa. Once we had settled on recipes that expressed the flavour of the terroir, we engaged our chocolate-making partner to replicate the flavour with their team.
“The process was wrapped together with a pack design that communicates the flavours to consumers, connecting the work of cocoa farmers and chocolate makers in Africa with creative partners in Europe.”
The Great Taste award judges described the Cashew Milk Chocolate as an, “Attractive dark milk chocolate with a good snap [and a] rich attractive texture,” adding, “we appreciate the richness that the cashews bring to this which we think is an innovative approach.”
Of the 73% Dark Chocolate, the judges noted, “On tasting, it is slow melting and then releases some nuttiness and a very pleasing gentle sweetness, giving a very enjoyable all-round finish.”
Described as Fairmade – a term recently entered in the Fine Chocolate Industry Association glossary – MIA is differentiated as one of the pioneering companies that makes chocolate at origin as opposed to those that manufacture chocolate outside the cocoa-producing country.
Co-founder Brett Beach said: “We have demonstrated that communities in Africa can produce excellent products and we know consumers are eager to support brands that create innovative impact in developing countries. This is why we are asking certification schemes to create a separate category for Fairmade, products that are crafted from raw ingredients to packaged goods at origin to add more value and support skilled jobs.”