In the late 1990s, Pierrick Chouard – at the time, manager of a French chocolate company – paid a visit to the Dominican Republic to research local cocoa farms. It was an eye-opening experience for Chouard, who was unaware of the depth and complexity of the social, environmental and economic challenges facing cocoa farmers in Latin America and the Caribbean. During the trip, Charlotta Janssen a painter and a good friend who was tagging along for sheer adventure, was taking pictures of the cocoa farmers daily lives.
With the pictures taken during sourcing cacao form the growers. Charlotta painted very large paintings, diptychs and triptychs depicting cocoa growers e met along the way. It took Charlotta 6 months to complete 17 large paintings.
We decided to sell them and give 100% of the proceeds (not profit!, the entire sum collected) to the cocoa growers. as Pierrick Chouard company was a for profit company we needed the help of an environmental NGO which could keep the money in escrow. in return they would contribute by providing a professional auctioneer from Christie's. We rented on Mr. Chouard funds the boat house in Central park and nervously sent invitation to celebrities to attend... All paintings were sold and the entire amount was given to the catholic mission. The mission, run by nuns proceeded to manage the money and build a warehouse and buy a truck to help the villagers sell directly to the exporter in the harbor.
Furthermore; in order to promote cacao quality and help them market their quality cocoa beans at a better price, Mr Chouard developed a class to introduce cocoa farmers to better farming practices and began contemplating launching his own line of sustainably grown specialty chocolate.
Vintage plantations was born and the packaging emanate from the paintings which were sold at the auction, depicting the cocoa growers we source from.