Five years ago, just after the opening of Cacao & Spice, a woman on bicycle dropped by the shop and convinced us of her delicious chocolate in just one single taste! This woman was Malou, who still comes by bicycle from Amsterdam-North to bring her caramelized cacao beans and plant-based chocolate bars.
Malou's journey in chocolate and cacao begins in Costa Rica: one day, Malou was standing on the side of the road in Costa Rica and received a freshly picked cacao fruit, not yet understanding how chocolate can be made from this!
"I ate the delicious fruit all day long and put the beans in my pocket to dry them at home (they don't taste very good raw). A few days later a local friend came to visit and said: 'hey you have cacao! I'm going to make chocolate out of it.' It was unexpectedly delicious." This was the beginning of Macao Movement!
Because of Malou's science background, she started to visit conferences about the (not so sustainable) cacao sector and it quickly became clear how important it is to make the right choices.
Choices that go beyond a fair trade label, but choices in which the farmers earn enough for a sustainable income.
After this she fully immersed herself in the craft, starting with the cacao bean. “for me, the cacao bean is like a white canvas of the chocolate, from where you can go in all directions.”
Malou is someone who finds it important to be challenged creatively: "I discovered that you can continue to learn endlessly about chocolate and cacao. In my products I take people with me in these discoveries."
the cacao bean is like a white canvas of the chocolate, from where you can go in all different directions
Al Malou's chocolate products are plant-based: so everyone can enjoy them! This is also a logical step from her idealism point of view. Malou makes chocolate bars from the cacao bean: this is called 'bean-to-bar', she also makes caramelized cacao beans, she makes chocolate for a bakery and for a chocolate milk brand and occasionally has creative limited edition boxes with all kinds of chocolate creations. She doesn't sit still!
In addition to Macao Movement, Malou has started a collaboration for a second brand called Wild Child Cacao with which they make ceremonial quality 100% chocolate, specifically for drinking.
“There is a growing awareness of people who want to reflect on themselves and what is happening around them. A cacao moment with Wild Child Cocoa can very well support this.”
A visit to the farmers' cooperative in the Dominican Republic, where she gets her cacao, has taken her relationship with cacao to another level:
“This visit added an extra layer to my relationship with chocolate making: a tropical island with beautiful white beaches and delicious cacao beans. On some roads you could see a cacao tree in every garden. Yet chocolate is not very much integrated in the local culture. After all, it was only brought to the island during colonization. That makes it very double in a way.”
Malou hopes that there will be more appreciation for cacao in countries such as the Dominican Republic, so that more local economies are set in motion and thus more entrepreneurship and financial independence.
It was one of her dreams to be able to make a difference when she started her chocolate adventure, but she also felt that she had to learn and understand more about chocolate itself first.
We look forward to Malou her coming cacao and chocolate adventures, and look forward to all the new and creative chocolate creations!
Where can i buy Macao Movement?
Women in Chocolate
In the spring and summer of 2022 we put female cacao farmers and chocolate makers in the spot light. Read all about it in our blog posts and social media.