The story behind the best artisanal chocolates in Brazil


Priscila França has made the sweetest career change imaginable. She used to escort inmates in a prision and, eight years later, won a prize for the best artisanal chocolate in Brazil. It took her some bravery, stamina, and focus to embrace this journey. 

“I was not happy. I wanted to be a pastry chef, so I asked for a work leave and came to Sao Paulo to take courses in 2013”, she says. From São Paulo, she also went to France to learn more about this new job. When she came back, she began to bounce between pastry and chocolate production. 

In the beginning of 2021, Priscila decided to focus on her greatest passion: chocolate production. In September, she had proof that she had made the best decision. Her chocolate 70% was elected the best among 34 competitors in the CNA Brasil Artesanal 2021 Award, promoted by the CNA/Senar System. 

The prize

The jury examined the 34 samples and made their decision concerning appearance, color, flavor, aroma, texture, persistence and solid cocoa content, and other requirements. Then, a popular jury made up of 275 people participated in a blind tasting to vote for the chocolates they liked best.

The production method of each product was considered in a “history” category. “I was thrilled. I have never had such a detailed analysis of my product”, she says, “It would never be possible without the support of my family and a good quality cocoa”. The prize was a result of the best ingredients and the best technique. 

Priscila uses cocoa from Tuerê rural settlement in Para, in the middle of the Amazon region.  She explains that the “bean to bar” method involves a unique process of planting, handling, and harvesting following sustainability criteria. The result is a cocoa with complex flavors and particular characteristics. “This prize also belongs to Francisco Cruz, who cultivated the cocoa used in this bar”.

Now, Priscila sells her bars in a virtual shop and in 12 other sales outlets in 12 Brazilian cities. The plan, however, is to go beyond. Her brand is negotiating to ship some bars to Norway and export is among the plans for next year.

“Brazil is a country with diverse terroirs and an increasing production of fine cocoa. This is influencing the chocolate quality as never before. We are educating consumers and writing history. In a few years Brazil will be a reference not only in the production of cocoa, but an exponent of quality chocolate”

Brazilian cocoa

Brazil is among top 10 producers of cocoa in the world, in an expanding market. Today there are already three types of geographical indication already registered. Brazilian cocoa companies are usually small, with a majority of women-led businesses. 

Know more about Brazilian cocoa and chocolate production in the articles below: