It was late 2000 when Marcela and David planned their vacation. But what should have been a relaxing holiday trip to the Bolivian side of the Amazon rainforest, soon turned out to be an adventure that changed their lives personally and professionally.
Having arrived to the Amazon they were amazed by the natural richness and exuberance, in particular the cacao fruit, which abounds in this area of the Amazon. It was love at first sight!.
The impact of this encounter was generated by the fact of how this fruit grows as part of the majestic jungle without any kind of human intervention.
While walking through the grassed streets of the Amazonian villages, they met local people and listened to stories of local life, stories from the jungle, and this way they started learning more about the local and native culture.
Undoubtedly, the adventure was fuel for their entrepreneur engine and convinced by their observations, they founded in February 2001 the company Sumar Ltda. Sumar (Suelos Y Manos Amazónicos Racionales) could be translated to “Amazon Soils and Hands Thinking Consciously”.
By establishing a small processing facility in the province of Beni they not only created a value chain at the origin of the resource. They also became pioneers of the transformation of the wild growing cacao beans and promoters of a sustainable development generating a commercial interest around that ancient fruit.
In spite of the enthusiasm Marcela and David had when they started the project, they didn't have enough knowledge to transform cacao into chocolate or even cacao paste. Thus, they started learning from the locals how to ferment, roast and peel the cacao beans, since consumption of hot chocolate had been part of their ancestral culinary culture. So, the very first production of Chocolate Baure was made in a very authentic way based on years of artisan methods.
The authenticity did not stop here thanks to the inventive hands of David and his engineering creativity. Equipped with only the most basic tools he began to build and construct simple, mechanical, but perfectly usable machines from scratch. It was now possible to process the raw material and to plan and execute a very small but sustainable production.
After some extremely tough first years, the company grew and took huge steps in learning about cacao and chocolate, and especially to value the singularity of the Wild Cacao around the world.
Sumar Ltda decided to certify their cacao and final products as Wild Collected and Organic under EC and NOP standards.
This allowed the company to open the doors to a distinct market, mainly in the international sphere.
With some assistance Sumar Ltda started telling about the project and showing the products at international trade fairs. New relationships bloomed, both with commercial and environmental protection institutions, and with people who were able to share knowledge on “The Chocolate Science”.
In 2009, a team committed to the philosophy of the company and for them, training programs was organized. In this team, especially one person, the Dutch engineer Hendrik Nengerman, became an invaluable source of help. He has definitely been the man, in every respect, who has guided Marcela, David and the rest of the team wisely through the process of how to create real, high quality chocolate. At Sumar Ltda a sincere feeling of affection and gratitude will always be kept for Henk.
Over the years, "Chocolate Baure" has constantly improved chocolate processing techniques, as well as pre and post harvest methods, further enhancing the natural quality of Cacao Silvestre Beniano.
The year 2011 was a milestone in the history of the company. Although the ideal of Marcela and David was to elaborate 100% of their products in the Amazon, where the raw ingredients come from, the lack of basic services and the difficulties in logistics meant they decided to establish a small production facility in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The high temperatures and humidity level of the area also made the ideal of making high quality chocolate at the real origin almost imposible.
Today, Chocolate Baure is probably considered the finest chocolate produced in Bolivia and can be found locally in the most exclusive delicatessen and gourmet shops, as well as in the best five stars hotels and top restaurants. Worldwide known coffee-shop chains also have chosen our brand for their local restaurants to offer high quality chocolates.
In the international market, we are working hard to build a great reputation for our brand and position it among the finest chocolate products. We have already had some amazing results in countries like Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands. We have also started exploring the North American market in the Miami-Florida area.
At Sumar Ltda a sincere feeling of affection and gratitude will always be kept for Henk.