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Eén van de mooiste repen uit de ‘Creativiteit’ box kwam van Mirzam, een bean-to-bar chocoladebedrijf uit Dubai. Kathy Lee is de CCO (Chief Chocolate Officer) bij Mirzam, en één van de drijvende krachten achter dit snel groeiende bedrijf. Tijd voor een vragenrondje!
Hiya Kathy. Could you first introduce Mirzam and pinpoint what you think sets you apart in the world of bean-to-bar chocolate?
Mirzam was started in September 2016 – after years of research and obsession with chocolate, and the delicious process of seeing chocolate made from bean to bar.
There are a couple of things which I believe have set Mirzam apart – the main one being one unique location in the Middle East, and using the historical spice trading route that ran through this region, to connect ourselves to the history of cacao in a way.
You’re located in Dubai, which most people know as a city surrounded by desert and soaring temperatures in summer, which makes it a surprising location for a chocolate company. How do you handle the heat?
The heat is not actually the biggest challenge. Whenever I am asked how we handle the heat – I usually mention how challenging it must be in very cold places! Humidity is a bigger challenge to overcome, and cacao bean logistics with that humidity means we need to be very cautious with our bean storage.
What have been some of the highlights so far?
There have been so many! The biggest was probably our trip to Japan for the bean to bar summit – meeting people just as obsessed with chocolate making as we are in such an amazing city was really inspiring.
How did you come up with the design for your packaging?
Our packaging is ‘dreamy’ in my opinion – with the watercolor galaxy scenes on each really enhancing the message of celestial navigation and the stories of the orient that we obsess about.
Let’s talk about beans, what are the things you find important when you are selecting a new cacao supplier?
Of course, we start with the geographical location of the plantation – as we buy cacao from origins located along the maritime Spice Route, from the Middle east through to the tip of Japan. We then look for diverse, fine flavours, quality, and perfect fermentation. Also because the Middle East can not be super easy for logistics – we need suppliers who can offer support here.
What do you think the future of bean-to-bar chocolate will look like?
I hope that the industry as a whole grows, and more farmers are treated in such a way that they are encouraged and rewarded for growing the finest quality beans possible. I think as consumer awareness of the situation on many plantations improves – this can only drive more customers to make informed decisions.
Finally, any exciting plans for the future?
So many plans! Our Monsoon collection is coming soon – stay tuned!
All photos provided by Mirzam.