Can you tell us about Midunu Chocolates and how you started your business? What you are most proud of?
Midunu Chocolates are artisanal handcrafted chocolates. Made with Ghanaian cocoa, they feature the flavors and essences of Africa. After over a decade of travel through the various corners of Africa, I distilled the essences of the African continent and now offer them to you in Ghanaian chocolate. They offer people the opportunity join me on that journey, to taste the subtle infusion of the bounty of the African continent – fruits, spices, coffee, teas, and tisanes. These complex flavor profiles embody the beautiful patchwork of Africa’s culinary heritage, a chef-scripted love story to our continent in every bite.
I started the chocolates as one of the elements of my company. Given the availability of cocoa in Ghana, I felt it was important to add value to local ingredients. I’m proud to be able be share insights into African cultures and cuisines through the medium of chocolate. We have named the truffles after different African women who have inspired the truffles and are culinary custodians throughout the continent.
Please share with us some of the unique challenges that an African chocolatier faces, based in Ghana.
Despite the fact that we are one of the world’s largest producers of cocoa, the systems and structure currently available in Ghana are not set up for local production. In fact, the laws make it illegal for me to buy cocoa beans directly from farmers. The colonial structure, with its inherent structural injustices, still means that the legal, economic, and infrastructural framework is set up for exporting raw ingredients. Conversations are underway, but you can imagine the vested interests, financial implications, and internal and international politics that go along with that.
Other production challenges include difficulties in accessing some of the other ingredients needed to produce chocolates and confectionaries: sugar, dairy, vanilla, and lecithin. All these must be imported, so they increase the production costs.
In terms of market challenges, as we grow and look for additional markets for our products, shipping, cold chain management, and managing related costs have become areas we are trying to better understand.
As a relatively new member of FCIA, what have been the services you have found most valuable, and what do you wish could be improved or added?
Since I’m not always in the United States, I haven’t always been able to attend events, so the webinars this season have been very valuable to me. In terms of services to improve, I would love to see a deeper partnership with fulfillment partners that can help in the delivery of our chocolates to customers, a longer mentorship program with access to capital, and more engagement between chocolate makers and chocolatiers in cocoa producing countries and chocolate consuming countries.