Even when things are not going your way, there is chocolate: a universal balm if ever there was one. While cacao beans – the precursor of a chocolate bar – grow in lots of places, one country where one can find superb specimens is Venezuela. Maria Fernanda Di Jacobs is a Venezuelan chocolatier who has dedicated her life to show that her country’s cacao can propel an entire industry, even when the world around it’s floundering. Only one, Soma Caf in a popular area of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, is left. At a chocolate show in Barcelona, she spied a poster promoting Venezuelan hot chocolate beans.
It had been the proverbial light bulb: She went home intent on using chocolate as a way of transforming her troubled country. On the campaign trail, he promised to share the country’s oil wealth with the most impoverished communities, once he was in office, subsidies – lower priced goods and government publications – became commonplace. For decades, hot chocolate had been shipped out from the country only to come back as a finished product. Di Giacobbe decided to break this format and teach women to do chocolate and also to sell their very own products locally.