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handcrafted from bean to bar in new york's catskill mountains handcrafted from bean to bar in new york's catskill mountains

Sambirano Valley Chocolate



Cacao in Sambirano Valley, Madagascar

These special beans from the Sambirano Valley in Madagascar boast a big flavor: bright, acidic fruit like dried cherry and cranberries, guaranteed to surprise you. The intensity comes from the volcanic soil on Bertil Akesson’s private plantation, called Bejofo Estate, and has become a signature among craft chocolate makers.
In the 1970s, Bertil’s family moved to Madagascar from Sweden and purchased several spice plantations, one of which had quite a few untended cacao trees. Since then that 2,300 hectare farm has become the mainstay of Bertil’s operation. The beans are fermented in wooden boxes for six days, then dried in the sun on raised beds and concrete patios.
Bertil’s beans have become a hallmark of the bean-to-bar chocolate movement, with almost every maker creating their own version. But we launched ours later than most. Every time we’d see Bertil, whom we’ve known since 2013, he’d nudge Bryan.
“When are you going to make chocolate with my beans?”
Bryan would reply, “I want to do them justice!”
Finally, five years after meeting Bertil and tasting his beans, Bryan felt happy with his results. In 2018 we launched our single-origin Madagascar bar and have been delighted by its nuanced fruitiness — a big contrast from many of the roastier, earthier beans we work with that makes it extra special.
sambirano cacao worker, sambirano chocolate worker

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Dried Cherries


Sourced with our partner
"Akesson’s Estate"