Podcast

Episode 16: Juliana Aquino of Vale Potumuju & Baianí Chocolates

Description: Juliana casually told me during our interview that she was a singer. A little YouTube digging led me to videos of her with hundreds of thousands of views. She's a modern day Bossa Nova queen! Native of Bahia, Brazil, in this episode of Well Tempered, the podcast about the smart, creative and crafty women in the chocolate industry, she shares the entrepreneurial journey to launch a fine cacao company on storied family land, as well as zeal for being part of a movement that is just getting started. They keep dreaming, with plans to build-out an eco-tourism piece of their business, and a soon to launch tree-to-bar chocolate company (Baianí) utilizing cocoa beans from their farm (fazenda) Vale Potumuju. 

Tuta and Juliana of Vale Potumuju (photo credit: Dan O'Doherty, Cacao Services)

Tuta and Juliana of Vale Potumuju (photo credit: Dan O'Doherty, Cacao Services)

Themes discussed in the episode: 
How they settled on the idea of renovating formally 'Fazenda Santa Rita' (purchased in 1973) to Vale P.otumuju and the businesses and social projects that emerged from that move; both sides of the families have been in cacao in Brazil since the early 1900s
- Balancing 110 hectares of cacao between a standardized commodities market and the flourishing craft chocolate market (some direct trade), of which 40-60 hectares are of fine quality cacao (the rest of their land is a Mata Atlântica rainforest preserve, where they will replant various biodiverse trees to maintain vibrance of rainforest)
- Adjustments to climate change - on the farm and via the supplier market; finding new clones and varieties to best succeed
- Juliana and Tuta consulted Daniel O'Doherty of Cacao Services to catapult their operation and fermentation/post-harvesting practices to their optimal place
- They are interested in creating and maintaining a "direct line farm-to-maker” model, an example of this is their partnership with Manoa Chocolate in Hawaii
- Their commitment to preservation, transparency, and a new wave of entrepreneurship in the cacao sector in Latin America

“...the Cabruca system" that has been in place for more than a century at our region is being kept, so all our cacao orchards are under the shade of the local “Mata Atlântica” rainforest. A tree canopy composed of a variety of hardwood and exotic fruit trees, some only found here." - Tuta Aquino, Vale Potumuju

Related Links:
- Witches Broom fungus; a documentary in Portuguese 'O no Ato humano deliberado' & also read more in the book Raising the Bar by Pam Williams and Jim Eber 
A menor fabrica de chocolate do mundo (Estadao article about young pioneer Luisa Abram that catapulted her to the public eye in Brazil)
- Cacao community; Greg D'Alesandre of Dandelion Chocolate motivated them to start their own chocolate line


What craft chocolates Juliana would take to the Cosmos: 
Marou Chocolate (podcast on Marou), Letterpress' Honduras, Luisa Abram's Rio Acara

Where to listen to Juliana! 
Juliana Aquino on Spotify 
Amazon Music: Disco Bossa & 2xBossa

More f
rom Juliana (and Tuta): 
Vale Potumuju / Prime Cacao website
Baiani Chocolates website
Facebook Vale Potumuju 
Instagram Vale Potumuju // Instagram Baiani Chocolates