Event Chocovenezuela and the discovery of the cocoa Pariano, Barlovento and Chuao
Venue & travel time begins already the day before the flight to Caracas; yeah, just like that because by us in Belluno Wednesday is snowed a lot. And I do that on Thursday I had the plane from Venice to Caracas, I spent the afternoon shoveling snow, otherwise I could not get out of the car; 40 cm in little more of a morning, I thought about giving up, but the desire to know the famous Venezuelan cacao closely coupled with the fact of being one of the few Europeans invited to the event, he gave me the right boost. And shoveled shoveled in on Thursday morning are regularly party.
Regularly so to speak, because so as not to overlap too many commitments, my flight was direct transit for a time in Rome, and there thanks to CNA, had arranged an interview with the TG2 to talk about the rejection of the Community European Italian law that allows you to call pure chocolate made with only cocoa butter; luck would have it, the crew led by his Di Lazzaro is stuck in the ring road. We exchange at least 10 text messages, and the tension rises because I missing only 20 minutes to my boarding, check here when the gray Mercedes RAI 2.
Ready go! With the speed and professionalism the cameraman, 3 minutes do the interview. Good before and without much ado, I greet them hastily and fled (I trained a little bit, gosh) at the gate.
Luckily the flight Alitalia half an hour late, and a little strafumato I give myself a little something that I have always repudiated: a " Trunks. " Oh well the God of the quality forgive me!
I get on the plane and I remember how far back is Italy: a Boeing 767 at least 20 years without TV and entertainment on board! Prepare a long flight, very long. I wonder: is it possible that a business card as the national airline is at least a facade to spend well? Tour the world far and wide, but a plane is so intenazionale are at least 5 years since I found it more!
Long flight and with only a meal, oh well better that way, so it was not even very good. Arriving in Caracas, and make me go all passport checks in a very shallow, I would have said the opposite ... I mention that the good Chavez is careful to protect his country, but it's better this way also because in my case I have all the paraphernalia to make demonstrations and courses for the Venezuelan chef knives, spatulas, bottles of color, in fact almost half of the terrorist stove.
Michael is waiting for me outside, a taxi driver available and I speak only of the beautiful women who are in Venezuela; to understand that the main reason to visit is the European sex tourism. I'm a little to the game, although more time passes and more delves into particular details; I think almost to tell him that I was a homosexual, just change the subject ... but maybe better not to go.
I finally arrive at the hotel Continental, where he greets me a laughing "mujer" that seeks to explain how the climate and vintage furniture 70 years are a choice, and that you do not dare even thinking that are original and that in 40 years they have not yet changed; In fact, I am so tired that I do not think anything. But open the door to the room, I would have noticed even with closed eyes of the old stuff that was around me, if only for the smell of mothballs, mixed with smoke. But I'm tired and this it helps me.
Friday December 3
I get up early also because the time zone does not make me sleep better. I go down and I start to work on the PC in the lobby; is because there is no room The Internet, and I have breakfast: cornflakes with a meager feast, cold milk and coffee U.S.. But it does not surprise me, because my friend Silvio I had already prepared for it, and when you're prepared to stand in the trenches, the whole is easier.
Let's go to the Chamber of Commerce where she awaits Daniela, who for a change there blunt with a series of jokes to pee on him with laughter; and while we laugh, the heavy rain which has structure infiltrated the incredible power of attorney a short circuit, so that we are forced to leave the building; but never mind, for there recently there was the inauguration of the Choccovenezuela.
We arrive in good time for the Fair and immediately welcomed us Verioska, a workaholic handyman, who actually is a little soul of the event. I am now sure that what I asked him was purchased faithfully, and to my amazement he tells me that he had to make almost 100 km to get pistachios for my recipe! Unbelievable I say: you know I would have opted for something else.
The fair is very nice, with about 60 stands among artisans and merchants of chocolate. A real event that has nothing to take away from the great and famous Italian events, spratutto for the spirit that breathes, that air of knowledge and openness to new things typical of those who humbly is climbing the road to success.
I confirm some In fact, all that in just one year of professional exhibition of local chocolatiers has raised, and many more.
It 'time of the ribbon cutting, which I represent Italy's chocolate, along with the Ambassador, the President of the Chamber of Commerce, and the Secretary of the ICE.
The thing that still amazes me, is as the formalisms are not quite at home in Venezuela; I think if the same positions in the Italian territory, I immediately stomach ache, as if reflecting on the "pull".
The President asked me to make a speech at the press conference, and I with my pidgin Spanish affirm the great will, as president of MBM, to accomplish for the next year collaboration even more tight, trying to get here at least a dozen Italian companies.
Gone are formalism I run with my friend Andrea, a local chef with whom we have to do a Sunday gastronomic fusion between Italy and Venezuela: a praline with roasted plantains. But pultroppo traffic surrounds us, and with great difficulty I can only arrive at the hotel in time for the appointment with the president of the Chamber of Commerce, which invites me to a steak house that I will remember throughout life, it was so delicious grilled meat.
Saturday, December 5th
Busy day and finally production. Wake up early; just arriving at the fair is immediately perceived that the day will not be as that of Friday, both for influx of people, both for the presence of many televisions that make me thousand and one interview.
The super organized Verioska, the true engine of Choccovenezuela, it makes me see the kitchen and the ingredients that I bought locally at my request.
I had asked the noccciole and pistachios, but as soon as I opened the envelope I knew immediately that something was wrong: an acrid odor and rancid, but our Piedmontese hazelnuts.
At that point, I who are farsighted and I had brought a small amount hazelnuts in bag, I decided to change my performance there and to see and taste how it can change the taste of chocolate by changing one of its ingredients, or better, using ingredients of nationality different.
The audience is shocked to hear from the difference between the Italian gianduja and hazelnut gianduja made with Venezuelan.
A lady, Fernanda asks me how to solve this problem. But pultroppo not knowing the local market, I can not advise where to go to get Italian hazelnuts and pistachios (assuming there are any).
We are almost at the end, when a torrential rain began to beat more half an hour: all present flee quickly, because thence little to say, the roads would not have been more practicable; is because every heavy rain that occurs in Caracas causes that the roads become ponds.
Very tired in the evening shooting a parcel from fear to my friends and I go to bed, a little gloating because Sundays morning I have an appointment with Andrea, a Venezuelan friend of mine who promised me to take me to breakfast at a place finally acceptable.
Sunday, December 6
I still can not get the time zone and I wake up at 6 in the morning. Step a little time to the PC until Andrea does not arrive; let's start right away, but while I'm already looking forward to a sumptuous breakfast of croissants made to the French, orange juice and papaya, with an unsettling smile tells me "we have breakfast at my house" which could also be a good, or ....
Or takes me home, a nice apartment 17.mo to plan a new building, and we eat together a little of arepa with pineapple marmalade; was not exactly breakfast that I had hoped, but the stuff was good and the family environment: in short, in the end the best.
At the fair everything is going, and was finally after days of rain the sun comes out in the rivers, and it really shows an increase of the public. So much so that the tasting rooms are too full, and organizers are struggling to make life inside people.
But the most beautiful day the meeting with Mr. Perez company "I poemas", a mechanical engineer with a passion that helps her elderly mother in the preparation of chocolate. Agree to go with him on his farm Tuesday, and I immediately feel that due to the floods, part of the way we should do it with the tractor.
The day is ending, but I still lack to do what is most beautiful: a live demo where we will present a pairing between Italy and Venezuela: The Platano fried with chocolate and rhon.
People are ecstatic, and 50 chocolates that we prepare to be burned in 30 seconds. The evening step in an Italian restaurant laughing with my friend Silvio, and talk about our future plans ... we just lacked the cigar
Monday December 7
Finally a relaxing day, I get up late and go to breakfast on the street. Only, hoping to find a pastelleria that can give me at least one trick, after 1 hour of the journey and I'm strafogo 2 frog of carrot cake with a cup of tea not bad; I do not have time to stop calling me ... Daniela other commitments!
But as sometimes happens, the news is less beautiful than what you think. Already because the journey to Barlovento we are forced to cancel due to bad weather. I just have to Paria (which is not the title of a song), but the harsh truth, even if all I rinfrancano be a beautiful place with many criollo cocoa until well worked; but I'm a little as St. Thomas ... book a flight from Caracas to Cumana.
14.00, after a lunch rush tracera (a cut of meat very tasty local), I take a taxi greeting everyone, and I go to the airport. Missing 5 hours per flight and the airport is less than 30 km; but here in Venezuela is nothing sure, and in fact I can get to the airport only 45 minutes before the flight, out of breath and palpitations, but not yet over: after 4 hours of queue, swearing to arrive on time, the hostess of the Venezuelan company tell me that the flight is delayed by 2 hours!
At 19.00, I lean back in a chair in the waiting room and I fall asleep. This is very dangerous, because here nobody cares if you stay down the plane ... Then I start to walk back and forth for that corridor, I hurt my leg and I have the right shoes for standing hours; finally call the flight, but it is a hoax. At the end I take my flight at 22.30, about 45 minutes and are at Cumana.
23.00, I get off the plane and without too many precautions I find myself walking around the airstrip wondering: how is possible? ok that are small, but here a terrorist would be spoiled for choice on the possibilities! Manuel is waiting for me at the exit, the driver of Mr. Franceschi, a middle-aged gentleman a little shy listening folk music who loves to run in the car.
1.00 hour of the night, I finally laid to Victoria, cute and access: good morning I can work a bit.
Tuesday December 8
night the evil step: hot, wet, tired ... and I wake up every 5 minutes also to blame for some Italians who continue to make the phone ring, I hold on because even two days ago my wife gave me the good news is that again after waiting ... hopefully it will be 2 females ....
7 to go down and have breakfast with a arepita and a little jam; to 8 are already finca.
The Franceschi are humble people but know their stuff, and they live in a farming business. This is perceived well by the fact that a firm with 40 employees, and they are building new buildings for the fermentation and drying of cocoa them. But the most is interesting undoubtedly the warehouse clean and organized as I may not have ever seen.
One of the brothers Franceschi brings me to four hours around the finca, making me try different cocoa; they really believe, and much of their production is criollo, the Chuao and porcelain, but stand out among all the canoavo and Ocumare two Trinitarians completely white they call the new criollo.
Jose tells me that at the end the important thing is choose plants very productive, otherwise there is no sustainability real company, and that this is coupled with very important to replicate the plants, not for semiglia if not for graft: in this way you get a better classification of cocoa itself.
The tour continues and we start to get into the technical. And here I sbizzarrisco a bit: I try to understand their problems and help them in finding the solution, in particular, on the fermentation and processing of cocoa. Yes, because a couple of years the company has started to occur chocolate; this is what is short chain, and I feel really useful: I see people taking notes on everything I tell him and I seem to be almost home, so much the affection that I dedicate.
The hours pass and also passes noon; we take the road back and we stopped to eat a little restaurant, where I drink more good lemonade in my life. It will dwell on three hours talking about business, or rather trying to figure out how to send their cocoa in Italy and that the costs; the thing is interesting and they want to conclude.
We have laid the foundation, now follow the confirmation email. Meanwhile, we are trying to organize my stay for Wednesday, the last day of Venezuela. Theoretically if I should visit Greta, an amazing girl known to Choccovenezuela, which is specialist in the manufacture of cosmetic products with cocoa, and especially specialist massages: you never know who escape me a massage well done? I would really need.
At 16.00 I retire to the hotel, which has a wonderful view of the beach, breathe in the scent of the sea in the Caribbean.
But a new good news waiting for me: the phone rings and it is Danielina, which in addition to comfort me on the day tomorrow with Greta, asking me if I am interested to visit a factory pre-owned because they are selling members are no longer agree: the factory is called Chocolate Paria.
I think this is a great opportunity, it is a great opportunity to evaluate the idea of installing a plant here in Venezuela with a local partner that already I hand ... yuck.
In the evening the pace around Carupano, walking by the sea of the Caribbean and sipping lemonade.
Wednesday December 9
6.00 am and as always I wake up early, even if after seven days the time zone a little it gives me peace. I have breakfast and look Greta, and after a while of time that are outside waiting for her, comes with a jeep overloaded with cases: why are she is from Caracas returned to the car, a trip of about 12 hours.
The positive thing, as well as visit the company's Greta that with her there Stephanie, a girl equatoriana really explosive, from a thousand ideas and strong roots humanitarian; with her once we establish a good relationship, so much so that while Greta stops to take a little of fish at the market of Rio Grande, we start already to design something together, even if we do not know what yet.
In the meantime, we arrive at Paria peninsula kissed by the Lord, a place of virgin and pristine beaches. Even though I feel like the salt to take a bath in so much splendor, not Scordo who are here to work, and as Greta prepares something to eat for the noon, Stefania and I visit a small factory that adjoins the property Greta, the "Chocolates Paria" a company that not only produces cocoa, but which historically has created proposals for tourist packages "cocoa" with field visit, a visit to the small museum of chocolate (a cute room where they invented it spreads the culture of cocoa Pariano) and especially where it becomes chocolate, a true uniqueness in this place.
Ms. Alida, one of the two members, at the end of the tour tells us that want to sell, but the figure is very high. Me and Stefania we look in the eye and start laughing ... we were intending. Maybe with a good deal and with some other partner the company was not impossible, partly because Stefania and Greta would like to buy the chocolate company, so that it could process his cocoa.
Formerly the company of Greta and Chocolates Paria were one thing, but then the holders were divided and her husband sold the posada to Greta, while the factory is left to his wife and to a partner, who now wish to sell.
Start with pleasure the visit of the finca Greta, but I have observed to be less beautiful than what I thought: many diseases and many plants attacked by fungi. Again weight to myself: okay organic produce, but the plants may not even be infested with disease; is cruel for the plant itself, in addition to not be productive for nothing.
While we visit the finca, I teach some small notion that the campesinos working the finca Greta; I dwell in particular on the pruning of the tree and all the leaves take on the importance of sufficient light.
We rest a bit and above all we wash coarsely, because the finca was very wet and the ground was a real slime. I, however, I have 45 of shoes, I could not find even a pair of boots that I liked.
We spend the evening having dinner: fruit with me (I'm leaving tomorrow and I want to stay light) and they with lentils and chicken. While we eat we continue to share the excitement of getting to know, and we begin to sketch a first collaboration; first with the importazinoe in Italy of cosmetic products Greta (there is but I told the company that Greta is called Paria Shakti is specialized in the production of edible cosmetics made from cocoa butter, and the point of force are the cream "bebe" for pregnant women to be massaged on the belly) and at a later date to determine whether there is potential to make a company assembly for Chocolate Paria.
I greet you all and with a little melancholy return to the hotel, knowing that tomorrow we leave. I miss Italy, partly because I miss especially Martha and Arianna, my daughters. However as in Colombia, here I leave a piece of his heart but believes that ... boar to take it back!
Translated with Google Translate