Chocolate Purveyors 9- Bertil Akesson
Chocolate Purveyors is a blog series where we connect and discuss everything chocolate with both makers and enthusiasts. This discussion is with Bertil Akesson the founder of Akesson's Chocolates.
Akesson's Organic Chocolate is the first "Tree to Bar" chocolate maker. The Akesson family started with a single plantation in Madagascar. Today Bertil Akesson has expanded the companies cacao network with plantations in Madagascar, Brazil, and Indonesia. If you tried craft chocolate or world-famous chocolatier chocolate it is likely it came from one of Akesson's cacao plantations. Akesson's Organic Chocolate bars have won a multitude of awards and is regarded as one of the best craft chocolate bars on the market.
Do you remember your first experience with real chocolate? What was it?
As a kid, my father would always bring me back some Swiss chocolates, mostly Lindt, but I was more interested about the beautiful landscape pictures on the packaging… What I really loved was "profiteroles aux chocolat"!
Your plantations supply some of the world's best chocolate makers, how does it feel to see your cacao achieving such success?
It feels good for the team on the estate… Let us be down to earth; without this success at the highest level, selling at commodity prices would not be economically sustainable and everything would be more difficult for them.
What chocolate are you eating from other makers these days?
The new bar Friis Holm made with my beans… and Morin’s last batch of Madagascar… He has been using my beans for many years and this is the best batch he has made… showing both the grower and the maker can get better.
What makes Akesson's Chocolate special?
We were one of the first growers to start making chocolate. We are chocolate makers owning plantations on two continents. We also innovated, making 10 years ago the first chocolate with voatsiperifery pepper, the fist chocolate with coconut blossom sugar, the second Bali single-origin chocolate. Awards are not special anymore but we are among those that received the most.
If you could only eat one chocolate bar for the rest of your life, what bar would it be?
My Madagascar 100%.
For someone trying Akesson's Chocolate for the first time, what chocolate would you give them to try?
Depending on how chocolate addicted that person is, I would suggest 75% or 100% Madagascar… and if that person is Brazilian I would give them the Brazilian versions. Now if someone does not like dark chocolate I would offer the Brazil 55% Dark Milk.
What is your favourite food to pair chocolate with?
Rhum or whiskey.
What countries in your opinion make the best chocolate?
In general, I would say France and the USA. For very different reasons. France has the best tradition, a tradition perpetuated by old families of artisans and some with great artists chocolate makers. The USA has the virtue of entrepreneurship and adventure which led to the development of what I call the American Craft Chocolate Revolution.
No one wanted to use Madagascar Cacao, how were you able to change the opinion of makers?
By making better post-harvest work, capitalizing on our difference (that fruity acidity) and building personal relationships with the makers.
What does the future hold for Akesson's Chocolates?
Well, below our brand name you can read "Chocolate & Fine Exotic Foods"...
Our online chocolate shop now sells the full product line of Akesson's chocolate bars.
From rich dark Peruvian chocolate bars to new start-up chocolate bars on the come up, you never know what you get inside the box!
Each month we will curate 3 to 5 premium specialty crafted chocolate bars.
Have someone who you appreciate? It also makes as a great gift!
If you want to just try a couple of bars, check out our online chocolate shop, it's a selection of what we have curated in our past boxes.
Too much chocolate? You can pause at any time!
If you have any questions regarding this blog, our Kekao Box or premium specialty crafted chocolate bars, feel free to contact us! Keep up with us by subscribing to our newsletter or following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.