The journey of Makonnelli’s chocolates began in the friendship joining its founders. Their original goal of working together was aimed towards the export of premium cocoa beans. However, such an idea soon progressed into elaborating chocolates of single origin.
Makonnelli’s true history begins with two closely-located stores that gave a couple of hardworking families the chance to meet. With the passage of time and through the exchange of many conversations over countless cups of morning coffee, a business relationship was born. While their first business undertaking did not materialize, it strengthened the connection and ambition that joined these families and provided a solid foundation for what is now Makonnelli.
In the beginning, the focus was on exporting cocoa beans; they gathered the team and the necessary tools and got to work. After knocking on several doors, they found their first customer in Spain. The interest was so deep that by the end of February 2019, the founders of Makonnelli found themselves on a plane ready to close their first sale of cocoa beans. However, negotiations found an obstacle in a rising global pandemic and, after careful consideration, both parties opted to wait.
While it was undoubtedly discouraging for our founders to find themselves halting operations after so much time and effort, this company is founded under the belief that challenges are just an opportunity for improvement, adaptability, and innovation. Therefore, through research and reorganization (materialized in the time given to us by confinement), the formidable journey of Makonnelli changed its course. It gave rise to the question: Why should we export our prestigious cocoa beans when we can export premium single origin chocolates instead?
Once we decided to enter the world of premium chocolate production, the need for a distinctive brand name arose, and the first stage of research and development began.
If there was something clear in our founders’ countless debates and readings, it was the need for our brand name to speak of its origin and uniqueness. Several cocoa-related names were proposed, such as gods, indigenous communities, cocoa-producing cities, and populations.
Through the research, a very particular monkey species was found — and it had something in common with our founders: its great fondness of cocoa beans. We are talking about the Guyanan red howler (Alouatta macconnelli) which can be found in French Guiana, Brazil, Surinam, Guyana, and Venezuela.
This monkey is one of the 14 monkeys of its type living in the north region of South America. In pre-Columbian cultures, monkeys were related to joy and artistic expressions such as dance and singing. They were also represented in facades, codices, pots, and glasses, either because their aesthetic value or because their relevant function in nature as providers and givers of cocoa — the holy seed. This is how we found a denomination that exceptionally defines us, given its unique relation to our chocolates’ cocoa: Makonnelli.