“If somebody wants to buy anything from another country, they have to be more responsible to the end of it… like a marriage, you have to be responsible. Don’t look at other places. You stick with it.”-Tomo Zukoshi, Co-Founder of Fijiana Cacao
Fiji is the land of beach getaways, incredibly strong traditions, and a whole lot of agriculture. In fact, I’d say that despite doubling in size each year due to tourism, most Fijians don’t interact at all with tourists, and continue on their lives in the largely rural nation. This is how Tomo came to learn about cacao in the first place, well over a decade ago, living in the small town of SavuSavu.
Over the next several years, Tomo & his family built that small interaction into one of the world’s first value-added craft chocolate companies. His brands, Adi Chocolate & Fijiana Cacao, are now consumed by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. So in this interview, Tomo & I dig into the founding of his companies, local printing presses, and the marriage between maker & farmer. I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation as much as I enjoyed having it.
Note that Fiji & Fijian cacao was the topic of my interview with Tomo, with the end product being the podcast episode on the islands of Fiji.
Topics We Cover
- the path Tomo & his wife Harumi took to found Adi Chocolate & Fijiana Cacao in ~2006
- kava as a traditional drink & medicine
- typical Fijian taste in chocolate
- local demand for local chocolate… and future competition?
- expanding into nearby markets, and locational limits
- developing packaging that honors the strong Fijian traditions, while also being made completely on the islands
- Christmas Island sea salt
- cacao’s journey to arrive on Fiji
- white chocolate controversy
- the delicate relationship farmers have with chocolate makers
Connect With Tomo & Fijiana Cacao
Fijiana Cacao’s Website.
Fijiana Cacao on Instagram.
Fijiana Cacao 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.