The success of Bertil Åkesson’s estate in Madagascar

When the craft bean-to-bar chocolate movement took its first baby steps more than a decade ago, the fine cacao from the Åkesson’s estate in Madagascar was the first one turned into exquisite chocolate bars by new enthusiastic artisans.

Single-origin chocolate bars made with these cocoa beans could be found in every craft chocolate maker’s assortment all over the world without exceptions. With unmistakable citrus and tangy flavor notes, the chocolate made from these Madagascan cocoa beans is appreciated by all chocolate connoisseurs and is always the recipient of numerous international awards. But how did this success start for owner Bertil Akesson?

“As a Swedish diplomat, my father first worked for the Embassy in Paris in 1945. Years later his journey took him further south to Cameroon, where he ran a trading company, until, eventually, he settled in Madagascar in the 1970’s after he had taken over mining companies and sisal plantations.

So it is in Madagascar, at our family estates, that my journey through the fascinating world of cocoa, spices and other delicious natural wonders really started. There I have learned over the years the secrets and subtleties of managing and developing plantations. Ultimately, I focused on and specialized in fine cocoa and spices, whilst my consistent aim was to achieve the highest quality in a sustainable way.”

Today these estates are managed by Bertil himself. Located in North West Madagascar, in the Sambirano Valley, Åkesson’s estate is divided into four smaller estates: Madirofolo, Menavava, Bejofo, and Ambolikapiky. To showcase the flavors of his cacao, Akesson’s is also a chocolate brand that combines fine Madagascan cacao with the different varieties of pepper grown on the same farms alongside the cocoa trees.

Renowned brands in the industry such as Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate in the USA, Mirzam Chocolate in the United Arab Emirates, Fjåk Chocolate in Norway, Hogarth Chocolate in New Zealand and Zotter Schokolade in Austria use Akesson’s beans.

Now we are curious to know: what are your favorite single-origin Madagascar chocolate bars?

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