Menakao are one of the few chocolate makers who craft chocolate in the very country in which it sources its cacao from. It was Shahin Chenai’s dream to complete the bean-to-bar process all within his home country of Madagascar, so to ensure high wages for the farmers and factory workers.
The name ‘Menakao’ itself is a neologism composed of two words expressing Shahin’s vision – mena, meaning “red” in Malagasy, and kao, short of “kakao”. Red symbolises the colour of the sediment-rich soil and the cocoa pods themselves. The inclusion of the Malagasy word for “cocoa” is a little more self-explanatory.
On the cover of its packaging, Menakao depict the men and women central to its inspiration. Each illustration was painted by the late A. Ramiandrasoa, a local artist whose insight into the different tribes and cultures of the Madagascan people is unrivalled. Every bar of Menakao invites the chocolate-lover to engage with the rich cultural diversity of Madagascar.
All added ingredients, such as vanilla, cane sugar and fleur de sel are sourced from Madagascar. Through the implementation of organic farming and the abandonment of chemicals and pesticides, many plantations from which Menakao source its ingredients from are considered to be 100% bio-positive.