Dominique Persoone is our renowned chocolatier. He has trained the Virunga Origins team in the fine art of chocolate making with his singular focus on quality and taste. When it comes to flavours, textures and attitude, Dominique has a reputation of thinking outside the chocolate box. For a passionate chocolatier like Dominque, making chocolate where cacao actually grows is a dream come true. With Virunga Origins, Dominique and the team receive the beans right off the cocoa tree before transforming them into our amazing chocolate.
Like Dominique, the Virunga Origins team is passionate about the art of chocolate making. Take Roger Muhindo Marora, a 33 year old from Lubero who studied chemistry and agricultural industries at UNIGOM University in Goma. He grew up seeing cocoa trees outside his home and was always fascinated by the transformation of these magical beans into high quality chocolate bars. Before working for Virunga Origins, Roger even made some of his own chocolate by watching videos and online tutorials.
During the Ebola epidemic two years ago, Roger came to Butembo to work with Médecin Sans Frontières as a hygienist when he heard about the new Mutwanga chocolate factory. He decided he wanted to be part of this endeavour and knocked on the factory door! And when Dominique came for the launch of the factory and the initial training of the staff, Roger came from Goma, by his own means, to start as a trainee. With his incredible motivation and energy, Roger quickly took the lead of the team to become the production manager of the factory. Thanks to the supervision of Dominique and other partners, Roger was able to develop his skills as a chocolate maker to become a real Congolese master chocolatier!
From a personal point of view, Roger has taken full advantage of developing his skills under the tutelage of Dominique to become an icon of chocolate in the Congo. This is an important achievement, as despite a large production of cocoa beans in the region, the only chocolate available in Congo was imported. Congo boasts the highest quality cocoa beans in the world. Now Virunga Origins is proving that amazing quality chocolate can be produced in Congo, for the Congolese people and the world.
As a social enterprise, we make our products locally. Everyone who is involved in the making of the chocolate benefits. 100% of all profits go back to Virunga National Park and its surrounding communities.
It’s simple. When you buy our chocolate, the farmers around Virunga National Park get happy. The Park’s rangers get happy. Our gorillas and other wildlife get super happy. And when you take that first bite, you will be extremely happy, too.