. Easter is approaching, team! We’re sure that you are salivating over all that chocolate you’re going to consume. You may remember our coverage of incredible Brazilian chocolate brand Q Chocolate last year and we recently caught up with Samantha Aquim, the lady behind the bean to bar brand to hear more about the brand’s growth. Chocolate and badass #GirlBoss vibes, what more do you need? .HOC: Hi Samantha, lovely to catch up with you again! Tell us more about Q Chocolate; how does your brand stand out against the flood of chocolate we’ll be seeing in shops this Easter?SA: This is one chocolate bar that deeply honours the primary flavours of the cocoa it was made with. Every year the we adjust the process for the edition to bring out the freshness of that specific cocoa harvest. So even though the recipe does not change and the quantities of cocoa and sugar will be constant, the point of roasting and conching will always be adjusted to bring out the best. We follow what natures gives us every harvest and aim to do as little as possible to it, so that its raw beauty can emerge as bright as can be.
HOC: We love your mission to create eco friendly chocolate. We’d love to know what other foodie habits we have that we could tweak to be more conscious?
SA: We’ve recently started producing our own coffee and our partner on this venture, Marcos Oliveira Santos, has an excellent analogy on the chain a product goes through until it reaches the final consumer.
He says that the product chain is made up of by various actors and that unveiling the lives of each person behind the scenes is a good place to start. These craftsmen tend to be strict with the quality of the raw material they work with and I like to consume products crafted by these few passionate hands.
HOC: Can you tell us about a recent Girl Boss Moment?
SA: Taking part in the Parabere Forum was undoubtedly a very good experience. I take great pride in inspiring these woman with my life story. The world of chocolate is a male world, it is a male-controlled market and I am proud to lead a change in this industry.
HOC: It’s interesting you say that. We’ve interviewed ladies in the food production industry and they’ve commented that it is often seen as curious and difficult to be female in the industry, what are your thoughts on this?
SA: I am a woman with a strong personality and I come from a lineage of powerful and pioneering women. I was fortunate enough to grow surrounded by good examples. And I have the privilege of having the support of a wise family where brothers help each other in their difficulties and strengths. Women who have already broken the barrier should be committed to helping those who have not yet succeeded.
HOC: Hear, hear! You’ve been running Q Chocolate since 2011, how has it evolved and what are your plans for the future?
SA: We’ve achieved very important milestones, perhaps the biggest of them is just remaining in a market still dominated by chocolates with little content of cocoa and a lot of filling! It still surprises me to think that we are perhaps the only brand of chocolates in the world that sells chocolates with cocoa and sugar only.We do not have a single bar mixing cocoa with flavours or adding fillings.
We have achieved other very important milestones like entering the tough UK market. Soon we will open a corner at a concept store in Lisbon called OBA and we intend to expand from the Portuguese capital. Our growth, however, is always limited due to the production of a chocolate primarily based on the quality of the cocoa.
HOC: Sounds incredible. We know the path to success is not always totally linear; as anything unexpected happened with your brand as you’ve grown?
SA: For a cook who never dreamed of producing a chocolate bar, what we’ve achieved was totally unexpected.
But once the brand was up and running, one of the most unexpected factors was being able to gift HM Queen Elizabeth II with a specially tailored Q chocolate box. This milestone was certainly unexpected and filled us with pride and joy.
You can find out more about Q Chocolate online at http://chocolateq.com and pick up your own bar at Selfridges.