Chocolate truly is a wonderful world, and here in Boston, we are so lucky to be the home of so much history, invention, and innovation within that realm. Our goal at Cocoa Beantown chocolate tours, always, is not only to share information with guests about chocolate, but to be a resource for helping folks uncover all of the amazing innovators in the area who are doing amazing things with chocolate. Recently on our tours, we were lucky to be able to introduce folks to a couple of great companies, started by some wonderfully passionate chocoholics, who are doing fun and yummy things with chocolate.
Andrew Dunbar started out his professional life in ebooks, then moved on to health care. After years of working in a system that was less than inspiring—watching people make lots of money of people in dire situations who needed emergency care—he decided he wanted to do something where he could make a difference. Enter Kakosi, a company originally started by a couple of guys from Venezuela, the opportunity arose about a year and a half ago for Andrew to take the leap into ownership.
Though Andrew would not describe himself as having a sweet tooth, he does love good cacao, and wanted to be able to find things that taste like cacao. He admits that he regularly eats the 100% cacao chocolate wafers that they sell on the Kakosi website and in stores.
“The roasting process is where the flavor develops,” he says, “but it has to be done carefully.”
Hence the focus on real cacao products that are sourced equitably and fairly. As their website states, the company’s goal is “to help provide better lives and better working conditions for the farmers who grow the cacao we use. For us, food tastes better knowing it is sustainably and ethically produced.”
Andrew’s creativity can be seen in the way he describes all the different uses for his pruducts—the nibs can be mixed into cookie batter or rubbed on a pork loin, the wafers can be put on a macaroon, their 2-minute mousse can be whipped with coconut cream for vegans. And speaking of that 2-minute mousse? Developed originally for a food show, this amazing product comes in a pouch and can be stored in your cabinet, and when combined with whipping cream, can be turned into a super-silky and real chocolate tasting mousse in less time than the average TV commercial break takes.
Andi Wolfgang didn’t start out in chocolate either, but her path to chocolate revealed itself as she followed other passions. She originally earned degrees from Pennsylvania State University in Japanese, East Asian Studies, and International Studies. Her desire to maintain and improve her Japanese language skills pushed her to move to Japan for a year, and subsequently returned for another 5 years with her sister. While living overseas, Andi and her sister utilized their burgeoning interest in natural living and veganism to start several related companies, including one called Nama Kiss, a raw, organic, vegan chocolate company.
In 2011, the sisters returned to the US and restarted Nama Kiss in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 2016, Andi graduated from Tufts University’s Master of Nutrition Science and Policy program here in Boston. This multi-talented woman restarted Nama Kiss in 2016 at the same time she was working as a research coordinator in the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at Tufts University’s Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA). While there, she ran the Satiety Study and helped create a fortified energy bar to help combat malnutrition in Africa.
Andi is now living in Boston and runs nuFudge, the branch of Nama Kiss that produces their signature fudge ganache. Her ability to create tasty flavors–NuFudge comes in varieties like mint, peanut butter, goji berry, citrus vanilla, sea salt, and others, is a great tool in combination with her knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating. Chocolate-y treats that are good for you? We are always down for that!