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“At 23:56 on 23rd October 1963, Zambians rose in reverence of the Union Jack, the de facto national flag of the United Kingdom, for the last time as it lowered, signifying the end of British rule in Zambia.”

― Precious Mwansa-Chisa

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The sweet side of Zambia

Savanna Chocolate is Zambia’s first premium chocolate brand, founded by sisters Lynn Musonda Phiri and Chiinga Musonda. Their passion and love for chocolate began when they were young children. Back then chocolate was scarce in Zambia and they always looked forward to their dad bringing them some when he returned from work trips abroad. The inspiration for starting Savanna Premium Chocolate stems from the sisters’ desire to unlock the economic potential of value creation in the cacao industry. The original idea came after attending a chocolate festival in Amsterdam. However, the key driver that led them to start the business was when they found out that there are two million farms in Africa that produce approximately 70 percent of the world’s cocoa beans but less than one percent of the world’s chocolate is produced in Africa.

The name Savanna was chosen to reflect where the chocolate is being produced, the African savanna. The sisters wanted to offer a unique African chocolate experience. Lynn and Chiinga travel to meet the farmers of the cocoa beans they use to create their products. They do this for two key reasons, the first is that they want to know where the cocoa beans come from and ensure that they carefully select the best quality. Secondly, they meet with the farmers in order to pay them directly and ensure that they get to keep the revenues by cutting out the middlemen who have traditionally controlled the cocoa beans trade.

The chocolates are made from single-origin cocoa beans, meaning that there is no mixing of cocoa beans from different countries. “The taste of cocoa beans is very different depending on where it is grown similar to how coffee or wine from different regions taste different. The idea is to make pure chocolate using the best ingredients and no preservatives or artificial flavours and colouring,” Lynn and Chiinga tell me.

Savanna Premium Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate producer, meaning they start with raw cacao beans, which they then roast, crack, winnow (remove the shell), grind and then temper to make chocolate. Savanna Premium Chocolate is also a chocolatier that uses its own chocolate to make confections. “We currently offer ten different varieties of truffles and we plan to start making bonbons. Our chocolate truffle varieties include peanut butter, coffee, coffee and caramel, chai, pink salt and caramel, coconut cream, cookies and cream, cinnamon and chilli, peppermint and gingerbread. We also have different varieties of milk and dark chocolates,” the sisters share.

In case you’re wondering, these chocolates are suitable for cooking. “There are lots of great ways to enjoy and use our chocolate whether you are someone who loves to bake or are a chocolatier or a restaurant that wants delicious treats made from pure high quality chocolate, Lynn and Chiinga reveal. The most popular use of chocolate is baking and making confections. Savanna Premium Chocolate’s 70 percent dark chocolate and 40 percent milk chocolate baker’s chocolate are great for these purposes. Chocolatiers can make confections such as chocolate truffles, bonbons, ganache and more.

“In addition, people can also use our cocoa nibs, which are made by roasting, cracking and shelling cocoa beans in smoothies, cereal, yogurt and desserts,” the sisters add. The cocoa nibs are rich in antioxidants, magnesium and other essential minerals. Savanna Premium Chocolate also produces cocoa butter, which is perfect for making chocolates and baked goods. It’s also a natural moisturiser and can be used as massage oil and can be added to homemade soaps and lotions.

Lynn and Chiinga have blazed a trail as the first bean-to-bar chocolate makers and chocolatiers in Zambia. However, they would love to see Zambia expand to play a key role in adding value in the cacao industry in Africa, especially in terms of farming cacao beans as well as exploring opportunities available for chocolatiers.

Savanna Chocolate products are available at The Wine Shop, The Pantry Food Shoppe, Umoyo Natural Health stores and Grandeur. You can also have their products delivered to your doorstep by Ubuntu Meal Delivery Services.

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