YOU ARE WHAT YOU LOVE (+eat). Very few things make our heart beet faster than high-quality products that are deliciously designed. And this Valentine's, we're bringing this love affair to you: a juice, chocolate & rose trio.
But first, let's meet the beans behind Harper Macaw, a local designer chocolatier we're collaborating with for this limited-edition gift set. Founded by Colin and Sarah Hartman, a former U.S. Marine and Brazilian chocolate guru, Harper Macaw brings the bean-to-bar right here in DC and couples amicable taste with delicious design, you almost want to eat the wrapping (..but we'll frame it instead).
JRINK: So, how did you and your husband, Colin, become chocolatiers?
For me, it started out with an intense love for everything food after spending my college freshman year in Florence. Later, after a stint in Human Resources in NYC, I decided to move back to Brazil, where I am originally from, and attend Culinary school. While working in restaurants, I was always pushed to the dessert station. At some point in early 2010, my mother in law gifted me with a Scharffenberger chocolate book. I am a reader, so immediately I began to read not the actual recipes but the sections that explained the history and the science of chocolate making, and I fell in love. Colin jumped on board after he left the Marines and was in business school. His innate interest in entrepreneurship and business development made it an easy choice to join me in starting and running this business. He also fell in love with the cacao sourcing element of chocolate making.
JRINK: It seems like all the pieces really just fell into place for you two. Congrats! When you finally came to the decision of starting this business together, what did you do to make Harper Macaw different?
HM: We make our chocolate from bean to bar, which means we directly source our cocoa from farms we have personally visited over time in Brazil. We then meticulously craft chocolate in our brick and mortar factory here in Washington DC. Other than the superior quality and flavor of our product, Harper Macaw's bottom line is rainforest restoration and protection in the regions where we source our cacao. 5% of the sales of each chocolate product is reinvested in a rainforest reserve project: this on the ground NGO acquires deforested land and reverts it back to rainforest, which is under a Brazilian perpetuity law. By the end of our first fiscal year, we will be able to determine exactly how many square feet of rainforest each chocolate bar restores! How cool is that? It is a unique business model, and we only plan to source from different origins (such as DRC, Indonesia, Colombia, etc...) if we find an on-the-ground partner that does this same kind of work.
JRINK: Wow that's an amazing concept. Not only is the mission behind Harper Macaw a beautiful one, I have to say that your aesthetic is absolutely gorgeous- why is design and branding so important for you? And of course, no surprise that Design Army was involved!
HM: Branding and design are important for our business for many reasons. Chocolate is really about all of the human senses; flavor, aroma, and texture are essential, but so are aesthetics. And aesthetics are the first way to convey who we are to people with whom we are not directly interacting. The design needs to tell them what we are about and most importantly, what we care about - here are a few hints: quality, flavor, rain forest conservation, and a colorful sense of vivaciousness and adventure.
We love nothing more than partnering up with like-minded businesses, that are just as obsessed with design and great taste. So just until Valentine's Day,we're offering the sweetest deal yet: