Though the cocoa sector here is relatively small compared to other countries, Madagascar’s tonnage each year is produced by about 33,000 small farms! Most are run by the same families who have been living here for generations, relying on traditional techniques, as opposed to using fertilizers and mass farming methods.
Our partner, Valrhona, helps many such farmers continue to use their land sustainability and effectively for the international market. Most of these plantations can be found in the Sambirano region, named after the Sambirano river that flows through it. During flood season, the soil is enriched with minerals and nutrients, making the cocoa high in healthy antioxidants and giving it its unique Malagasy tone. Many of Sambirano’s trees actually stand on former fruit plantations leftover from the French colonies, and give the cocoa hints of fruit and natural sweetness. This terroir beautifully eliminates the need for excessive sweeteners and additives. Unlike most other climates, this region yields cacao all year round, giving it a competitive advantage. Madagascar’s lack of industrialization also puts their cocoa in high demand around the world -- so enjoy this rare and delicious treat!
THE PLANTATION: MILLOT S.A.
Andzavibe plantation is named after founder Lucien Millot (1906). North of Madagascar, the dazzling 3.200 acres site is the heavenly kingdom of vanilla, ylang, vetiver, patchouli and… cocoa. Our partner Valrhona has exclusive purchase rights on the 1500 acres certified organic cocoa plantation and recently became a shareholder in the Société Millot. Which employs 800 workers, mostly women. The plantation supports the village schools. Travelers are graciously welcome, if you happen to pass by.
PHOTOGRAPHIES: PIERRE OLLIER FOR VALRHONA