I first learned about Nova Monda Cacao & Chocolate at the 2012 Northwest Chocolate Festival, where I also had the privilege to meet its founder, Gregory Landua. He’s an uncommon man: opinionated and not afraid to voice those opinions, but also thoughtful, gracious and kind. I think the transcript speaks for itself.
What is Nova Monda Cacao and Chocolate known for?
Our company makes craft chocolate, both bars and jars, that are all single-origin, ethically traded and beyond amazing. Nova Monda came into being in 2011. I’m the cacao hunter and the director of development, and at the moment I’m the production manager, as well.
How did you come to chocolate?
I got conned into it by a hippie.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is, undoubtedly, getting to go hack through the jungle with a machete and look for cacao. For sure. Getting to go on amazing adventures and finding great cacao and also growing trees. I like that too.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
I would say flippantly, mosquitoes. [laughs] The biggest challenge is almost too complex to point at. I think the biggest challenge is the complexity of doing it right. Going from tree to bar or jar and having attentiveness and care at each level of the process…it requires a skill set that I could honestly say I don’t actually possess, so I’m constantly failing. So I’m constantly failing and then having to do better and better and better. So the biggest challenge is wow, that’s sort of a superhuman task, to hold that all gracefully.
What would you do if you weren’t making chocolate?
I would probably be sailing around the world, or doing something else not as useful for the planet. But fun.