“There’s too much power in the chocolate makers’ hands as opposed to cacao producers’ hands…. for the industry to be truly long-term sustainable, that power dynamic has to shift.”-Greg D’Alesandre, Dandelion Chocolate
Greg D’Alesandre is almost beyond description. Since 2012 he’s been a part of the Dandelion Chocolate team, building up a sustainable and reputable company which links cacao producers and consumers through chocolate. His self-designated title of cacao sourcerer (whether there’s true magic involved, we’ll never know) is a nod to his extensive work with cacao producers around the world, now numbering over 30 countries and hundreds of farms visited.
This interview is a frank glimpse into some of his extensive work to raise up cacao farmers and the overall global profile of craft chocolate. We dig into the responsibility of chocolate makers, some of the industry changemakers, and shifting power dynamics. I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation as much as I enjoyed having it.
Note that the topic of cacao sourcing plays heavily in my questions thanks to the podcast episode for which I was interviewing Greg.
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Greg in the San Francisco chocolate factory; we actually caught up at their first Japan location, in Tokyo after the Craft Chocolate Market.
Topics We Cover
- Greg’s background and how he got into the craft chocolate industry
- Unique personalities which tend to be drawn to the fine chocolate industry
- Power dynamics in cacao production
- Greg’s role in cacao sourcing & otherwise for Dandelion, and coming into more of a leadership position
- “Origin chasing” vs. large chocolate companies’ dialogue around cacao
- Madagascar & Bertil Akesson’s impact in the craft chocolate industry
- Dandelion’s sourcing reports: who, why, and how
- Consumer perception shifts & the new responsibility & opportunity for chocolate makers
- The delicate approach needed to be able to travel the world without pissing (too many) people off
Connect With Greg & Dandelion
Dandelion Chocolate’s Website.
Dandelion Chocolate on Instagram
Dandelion Chocolate on Facebook,
Connect With Chocolate On The Road
On Instagram: @chocolateontheroad
On Facebook: @chocolateontheroad
Show music is Roadtrip by Phil Reavis, and our transition music is We’re Gonna Be Around by People Like Us & Sweet Dreams by Lobo Loco.
To listen to the previous episode, click here.