I first heard of Claudio Corallo through a Zimbabwean journalist in the 1980s. While working together in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, she told the story of an ‘Italian Indiana Jones’ who was living and working in one of the most isolated part of the Congolese jungle. Twenty-five years later, I met “the character” who had captured my imagination and before long we became business partners.
Of course there’s the long story of Claudio and then the short one. Here is the short one.
‘Heart of Darkness’ is a novel by English writer Joseph Conrad of a trip deep into the African jungle. The story is about Marlow, an introverted sailor, and his journey up the Congo River to meet Kurtz, believed by many to be an idealistic man of great abilities. (Francis Coppola made a masterpiece film based on “that” character . . . )
There seems to be a strong parallel here with Claudio Corallo, an agricultural engineer, adventurer, idealistic man of passion, a master of tropical agronomy and a lover of nature, who in the 70s left Europe to go and live in Congo, then Zaire.
Fast forward forty years later he's been known as the king of the African rainforest due to his ventures into the depths of Congo River working with coffee, and now cultivating cacao and making chocolate in Principe.
There is no doubt in my mind, and many other peoples mind that his chocolate isn’t just special. It’s borderline-mythical, the stuff of legends and fireside tales. The man himself is an enigma and his island compound - a secret fortress of ideas, creativity and alchemy. The gift of this chocolate lies as much in its flavour as it does in the fable of its creation; a tale of distant lands, a mysterious foreigner and an almost-impossible masterplan.
And here, I see Claudio traveling the same rivers described in Conrad's book. In modern terms, a Marlow searching for similar physical and spiritual ideals.
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WHERE WE ARE
Plantation Terreiro Velho is on the island of Principe. Here we produce cacao, liberica coffee & pepper.
Plantation Nova Moca is on the island of Sao Tome, here we grow different types and varieties of coffee.
We wanted to make great products in harmony with the environment, nature and the people living there.
We wanted to make Real Organic, Real Fair Trade, Real Sustainable & Real Biodynamic Farming.
We wanted to take pride in the work and quality of all our products which are done entirely by hand.
We wanted with our chocolate but also with our attitude, to tell the people that they are the CENTER OF LIFE, the GERM OF LIFE, the source of everything BEAUTIFUL and TRUE.