Nearly everyone loves chocolate chip cookies but many people are looking for healthier alternatives to treat themselves. Low in sugar, dairy-free and easy to make, these MIA chocolate chip cookies are a great way to enjoy a classic treat in a healthier way.

 

INGREDIENTS

Makes 18 cookies:

1 ¼ cups (150g) white whole wheat flour

◆  ½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

◆ ½ teaspoon fine salt

◆  ½ cup (105g) virgin coconut oil (room temperature in solid form)

◆  ½ cup (77g) coconut or white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg and 1 egg yolk (room temperature)

¾ cup (130g) MIA dark chocolate

 

         

           

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Preheat oven to 350°F (177° C).

2) In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

3) In a separate bowl, beat the coconut oil and coconut sugar with an electric mixer until they are combined (about 2 min).

4) Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla to #3.

5) Use a mixer at low speed to gradually incorporate the flour mixture (#2) into #4.

6) Cut the chocolate into chips. Then stir them into the dough #5.

7) Divide the dough into balls of about 1 ½ teaspoons and drop them onto baking sheets.

8) Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the cookies on the baking tray for 2 minutes. Then place them on a cooling rack until they reach room temperature.

Enjoy the cookies at room temperature for up to 3 days!

 

We’re thrilled to have received our fifth Great Taste Award, a 2-star for our single origin 65% Dark Chocolate Drops. Just 10% of entries were recognised with a 2-star award and its great to have MIA among the recipients. We’re celebrating the award by offering a £3 voucher for purchases on Amazon UK in October 2020: https://www.amazon.co.uk.

The 2020 Great Taste Awards received 12,777 submissions from 106 different countries and were judged by 144 of the most discerning palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs, buyers, retailers and producers, as well as food writers and journalists.

MIA chocolate drops were described by the judges to have, “a lovely fruity aroma” and “…the most luxurious melt, which is just divine. The flavour is dark with a beguiling fruitiness that lasts and lasts.”

 

 

 

MIA co-founder Brett Beach explains the significance of the award: “Since cocoa was introduced to Africa in the 1900s, more than 99% of the crop has left the continent as a raw ingredient to help build the great reputations of chocolate makers in Belgium, France and other Northern Hemisphere countries. These Great Taste Awards are proof that African makers can compete on quality and have a place next to the luxury chocolates of the world.

“The MIA brand promise is to deliver delicious chocolate while creating a positive impact across social, economic and environmental development pillars. It’s great to see this come to fruition thanks to a lot of hard work with the cocoa farmers and the chocolate makers.”

MIA is crafted from bean-to-bar in Madagascar, a country where 100% of the cocoa is classified as fine flavour by the International Cocoa Organization. The primarily Trinitario and Criollo cocoa genetics — identified as beans ranging from white to light brown when fresh — are renowned for natural notes of red fruit and a smooth taste profile.

 

 

Any entrepreneur knows that it’s not easy to find investors who share the founders’ vision for the company. It’s even more difficult to find investment partners ready to stand behind early stage social (impact) businesses. Encouraging more social impact investment and harnessing the power of good are what inspired Gamil de Chadarevian to join forces with Giuseppe Dessi to create GIST, Global Impact Solutions Today.

GIST aims to make impact investments a more recognised investment class and inspire wealth managers to put more of their funds behind businesses that deliver results while leaving a positive mark on people and planet.

In an interview with MIA, GIST founder Gamil de Chadarevian shares his insights, why GIST invested in MIA and what the organisation has planned for the future.

 

     Gamil (far right) and Giuseppe (far left) receive Proudly Made In Africa Award with co-founder.

Above: 1) Gamil, 2) Giuseppe (far left) and Gamil (far right) join MIA co-founders to receive Award for Excellence in African Industry.

MIA – What inspired you to start GIST when there are many other paths you could have taken following a successful career in biotechnology?

Gamil – I’m a big believer in the power of positive change and I thought we could make a real mark on the impact investing and community and cause-driven businesses, both in terms of the role impact investing plays in larger portfolios and the companies GIST supports as proof of concept.

MIA – Who was instrumental in helping get GIST off the ground?

Gamil – The list of people who have helped is long but one that must be mentioned specifically is Giuseppe Dessi. Even though Giuseppe has his hands full as founder and CEO of Method Investment & Advisory, he has provided the financial support to get GIST off the ground, contributed his expertise to the organisation and is a primary contributor to our annual Investing for Global Impact Report. While I am responsible for developing GIST initiatives and driving them forward on a day-to-day basis, the organisation would definitely not exist in its present form without Giuseppe’s contributions.

MIA – What are the initiatives that GIST has undertaken to date?

Gamil – Since 2014 we have co-authored the Investing for Global Impact Report. The report presents the results of extensive interviews with investment offices to understand their attitudes towards impact investing, how many of these investments they make and how they measure results. The report also allows impact investors to share best practices and success stories, creating a community around impact investing. The overarching objectives are to drive interest and confidence in impact investing while helping the investor community find common measures so they can compare impact returns across different businesses. (Get Investing for Global Impact Reports here: https://gistltd.com/knowledge-platform/investing-for-global-impact-report/.)

Besides generating our annual report, GIST takes a direct financial involvement in scalable businesses that can serve as role models for impact investing. We selected MIA for this programme for its promise to bring four times more revenue to communities in Africa by making finished food products on the continent.

 

GIST also has an equity stake in Carbon Gold, a biochar producer that provides an alternative to chemical fertilisers while helping gardeners and farmers around the world multiply their yields.

MIA – You mention pilot investments as a means to demonstrate that financial and positive impact can be delivered by businesses with a higher purpose. How do you add value to these businesses beyond the financial investment?

Gamil – We support businesses in a number of ways beyond the financial investment. The initial investment is crucial to give start-ups the chance to develop, but we take a long-term vision by uniting a network of investors that can support business growth as activities are scaled up. We also make the GIST network available to support the business. For example, we brought expertise from the GIST network to MIA by arranging for one of our investment partners, Megan Taylor, to join the board. Megan brings a valuable perspective to MIA as she is an experienced business consultant and the founder of Move the World, an NGO that does development work in Africa. Megan’s involvement in Move the World gives her an   understanding of the African setting, which  is valuable to understanding and supporting work MIA does.

 

     

Above: 1) Megan, MIA board member and Move the World founder, 2) Beneficiaries of Move the World development projects with children, facilitators, schools and communities in Ghana. 

MIA  – What does GIST have planned for the future?

Gamil – We will launch a series of catalyst funds to unite the potential and vision we see in the investment and social business communities. The first of these funds is called the Green Impact Catalyst Fund. The fund will focus on co-investing its capital in innovative agriculture, farming and food initiatives and businesses in less developed countries. The vision is to develop a global portfolio of sustainable and replicable investments so we can raise the status of impact investing as a way to realise a financial return while giving something back to the world.

Learn more about GIST at www.gistltd.com

Home made ice cream takes some time to prepare but it is well worth it. Not only can you use much less sugar than store brands, you can also add your favourite seasonal flavours once you are familiar with the process. The MIA Vanilla Chocolate Chip Ice Cream recipe contains 1/3 the sugar recommended for a standard ice cream. This healthier recipe allows the natural sweetness of the cream to come through and gives the other flavours room to shine.

 

INGREDIENTS

Makes 4-6 servings:

4 egg yolks

◆  250 ml milk

250 ml cream

◆  50 g sugar

◆  1 vanilla pod

75g MIA chocolate

 

       

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Heat milk in a pot until just below boiling 2) Steep vanilla pod in milk for 20 min

3) In a bowl , mix egg yolks and sugar until they become as thick as a sauce

4) Remove vanilla pod, cut it lengthwise and scrape seeds into the milk

5) Add the milk to the egg yolk mixture and heat slowly (do not boil) until it thickens into a custard

6) Let the custard cool and then stir in the cream

7) Leave the mixture overnight in the fridge (also freeze your ice cream machine tub)

8) Cut chocolate into small chips

9) Combine the chocolate chips and ice cream mixture in an ice cream machine and churn until thick

10) Freeze and enjoy!

 

MIA is a chocolate brand that makes products in Africa at the source of the cocoa. The decision to produce locally is made with a clear purpose: to support skilled manufacturing jobs and bring four times more benefit to local communities versus the export of raw ingredients. Part of only 1% of the world’s chocolate that is made in Africa, MIA takes the path less followed. Why would a brand go through all the challenges of making finished products in Africa? Understanding Co-founder Brett Beach’s journey gives us part of the answer. 

The life path of MIA Co-founder Brett Beach has taken him from Europe to the US to Africa and back again. A look back reveals how a series of experiences in these distant parts of the world find a common thread through a chocolate brand that connects consumers in the Northern Hemisphere to the Africa that Beach called home for six years; six years that would shape him forever.  

Born in the UK, Brett emigrated to the US with his mother and siblings when he was three. His life in the US first landed him in the isolated foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains where water came from a hand pump and snowy winters made a snowmobile the best transport. At eleven, Brett moved one state away but a world apart from his childhood perspective; Kansas, the centre of the North American Wheat Belt, would be his new home until university.

Childhood in the USA

Beach reflects: “As a child, you don’t know how to verbalise differences in culture, but shortly after my arrival in Kansas I sensed that the rural farming culture was very different from the mix of Hispanic American communities and communal living I had left behind in Colorado. What I subconsciously realised is that adapting and learning from new settings is the best way to make friends and get the most out of life.”

Passionate about sports and at home in nature, Beach had a childhood filled with the outdoors, American football and baseball. Beach: “My passion for sports sometimes bordered on obsession, but I learned a lot about healthy competition, overcoming defeat and determination. These are lessons I took with me.”

After secondary school, Beach moved to Los Angeles where he would graduate from Loyola Marymount University. Beach credits his mother for pursuing a university education beyond Kansas.

Beach: “My mother Marian is a traveller at heart and she knew the value of meeting new people and getting a great education. She took it upon herself to organise an entire trip up the West Coast to meet potential universities. The move and what followed simply wouldn’t have happened without her.

“My mother really valued travel so when I was a kid we toured castles in England, travelled across Mexico in an old train, and journeyed around the tropical island of Puerto Rico. At university, I had the chance to explore the world over again on my own, so I took a study abroad trip to Mexico, visited Europe and then moved to Spain.”

“When I later learned about Peace Corps volunteer service, I immediately knew it was for me. It was a chance to live and work with people on the other side of the world! Before I knew it, I was on my way to Madagascar with zero grasp of the language, less understanding of the culture and limited experience at the task ahead; to teach English to large classrooms of grammar school students.

Brett’s home away from home in his Peace Corps village in Madagascar

Madagascar was a completely different universe, a magical island where nature had evolved in isolation for 60 million years and where the culture and language originated beyond my North American experience. The people were extremely kind and welcoming and the country was full of discoveries.” 

Beach would fall in love with life in Madagascar and followed his two-year stint as a volunteer with four more years in international development projects that took him from the highlands to the coastal Northwest, giving a view of the nation from various perspectives: highland village life, bustling capital, regional city centres and rural fishing communities.  

Ankarana national park in Northwest Madagascar

“I cannot emphasise how much the Malagasy people shaped me as a person. As a culture, they take a really unique approach to life. Patience, respect for elders, reverence for ancestors and indirect communication suddenly uprooted my American directness, change as a constant and a clear division between the living and the dead. The Malagasy people taught me to take a new look at assumptions I didn’t even know I had.”

Beach was so enamoured with Madagascar, its people and places that upon departing in 2006 he brought a bit of the country back to the US with him in the form of a food start-up. Following ten years of work on a specialty food company, Beach decided to move on to another venture that has the vision to of working around the African continent: MIA, short for Made In Africa.

Beach explains: “Africa and its people represent 12% of the world’s population but just 2% of global trade. As a case in point, they produce 70% of the world’s cocoa but make less than 1% of value-added chocolate. There is a huge gap that is created by many global injustices. Paying farmers a fair price is important and going further to manufacture products locally is the way for countries to change the imbalance of trade and help communities help themselves.

Chocolate making team in Antananarivo, Madagascar

Sarah (wife and best friend) and I co-founded MIA with a commitment to make all of our products in Africa because we believe that making delicious food on the continent is the best way to help people help themselves. We started MIA with chocolate made in Madagascar but our vision is to work with talented communities around Africa. With the help of industry partners and the enthusiasm of consumers, MIA is a great way to make the world a better place with products that feel as good as they taste.” 

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Read a Beach’s LinkedIn article that was presented at the 2019 London Chocolate Forum, Creating Unique Impact with a Cause-driven Business:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/mia-case-study-creating-unique-impact-cause-driven-business-beach/

 

 

Truffles have a decadent look and taste but they are one of the easiest chocolates to make. Following a collaboration between MIA and pioneering South African braai restaurant Hammer & Tongs, Chef Rodrigo Navarro created a special truffle with our new 65% Dark Baking Drops.

This silky smooth truffle celebrates the rich flavour of MIA while adding a twist with coconut and hint of mint. If coconut and / or mint are not flavours you enjoy then you can easily substitute other ingredients in their place. 

Ingredients (approx 12 truffles)

Instructions

1) Chop the mint leaves and set them aside.

  

2) Combine the soy cream / dairy cream and the sugar in a pot. Bring the mixture close to the boil and remove from heat. After removing the sweetened cream from the heat, add the mint leaves. Cover with cling film and set aside for 10 minutes. (The cling film keeps the mint flavour in the cream instead of allowing it to evaporate.)
 
3) Melt the chocolate in a bain marie while stirring. Remove the chocolate from the bain marie as soon as it is completely melted.
 
    
 
4) Strain the mint leaves out of the cream, pressing the leaves to extract all of the cream.
 
5) Stir 1/3 of the mint cream into the melted chocolate. Once the first 1/3 of the cream is mixed with the chocolate, add the rest and mix again.
 
  
 
6) Allow the truffle mixture to cool (no refrigeration needed) for 1-3 hours. Once the mixture is firm enough to handle you can use it.
 
7) Toasted Coconut (optional) — Gently toast some of the coconut in a pan on low heat. Stir constantly to prevent burning and remove from heat once the coconut is golden brown.
 
8) Make small balls with the truffle mixture and roll them in the coconut.
 
  
 
Keep your truffles in a cool place away from direct light and sources of heat (no need to refrigerate) and enjoy them within one week.
 
Thanks to Chef Rodrigo and Hammer & Tongs for the delicious Coconut Mint Truffle recipe! Those of you attending Taste of London this fall can enjoy Chef Rodrigo’s creation at the MIA stand.
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About Hammer & Tongs

Inspired by a love of traditional South African braai, Hammer & Tongs offers juicy, tender and smoky cuts of meat cooked over wood.

Braai (rhymes with try) is quintessential South African barbecue. Hammer & Tongs only ever cooks with sekelbos (sickle bush) wood imported from Namibia. Sekelbos smoke married with beef, pork, vegetables or fish creates a whole new dining experience and depth of flavour.

South Africans have been braai-ing for thousands of years and over the centuries the flavours have evolved thanks to the diverse culinary influences brought by the many settlers. What has always remained the same is the simplicity of braai and the skill of cooking over woodfires.

The unforgettable flavours experienced at Hammer & Tongs warm the soul. The beer bread, marinades and chutneys are all homemade and inspired by the tastes of the Karoo and Stellenbosch regions of South Africa. Hammer & Tongs source only the highest quality, local, seasonal ingredients. All meat is British free-range and the fish is from sustainable sources.

More at www.hammertongs.co.uk/.

 
 

MIA sets a new milestone for Made-In-Africa products by taking home three coveted Great Taste Awards this year, bringing the brand total to four.

Organised by the Guild of Fine Foods leading up to the Speciality & Fine Food Fair in London, the Great Taste Awards are widely recognised and often used by retailers to qualify new brands. Award winners are divided into three rankings: 1-, 2- and 3-star.

With nearly 13,000 entries, only 1,500 products received the 2- or 3-star ranking: MIA received three 2019 Great Taste Awards, including two with 2-star ranking:

Baobab & Salted Nibs — 2-star Award: “A well balanced acidity… a lovely crunch and citrussy note… quite fascinating bursts of flavour: sweet, salty savoury and fruity…”

75% Dark Chocolate — 2-star Award: “The melt is smooth and clean and there is a fine texture…. rounded mix of dark berry-ish tones with brighter refreshing notes… keeps a delicious flavour on the palate which is clean and rich.”

100% Cocoa — 1-star Award: “Intense dark chocolate with fruit on the nose. The flavour is long and the fruity element comes through…”

Thanks to the cocoa farmers, chocolate making team, supply partners and customers for helping MIA achieve so much in such a short time! If you want to share the success with friends and family, MIA is available in the UK at Whole Foods Market in London and online via Cocoa Runners and Amazon for shipment worldwide.

Cocoa Runners: www.cocoarunners.com/?post_type=product&s=mia

Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk

Following our collaboration earlier this year for Valentine’s Day, we’re incredibly excited to be back at Hammer & Tongs. With a shared passion for Africa and delicious food, Hammer & Tongs is a perfect partner for MIA. This time, we’re collaborating on a year-round vegan Coconut Mint Chocolate Truffle.

Created by talented chef Rodrigo Navarro using the new ‘MIA for Chefs’ chocolate drops, the truffles are rich and silky with the tropical taste of coconut balanced by a minty coolness and the nuanced flavours of Madagascan cocoa.  

Rodrigo at work at Hammer & Tongs

Starting in September, all Hammer & Tongs guests will receive a complimentary truffle at the end of the meal.  The truffles will also be exclusively offered at Taste of London Festive this November. 

Bringing the famous South African braai to London since launch in 2016, Hammer & Tongs is passionate about materials and ingredients. One example is the decision to import a special wood from southern Africa to give the braai a special flavour while helping game reserves protect their land against an invasive species called sekelbos.

Head Chef Rodrigo Navarro:

“We look at every ingredient we use from many angles: how it tastes, where it comes from, how it was produced, how it is packaged and its impact on the environment. All these considerations are vital to our dishes, our business and important to our customers, so we’re delighted to collaborate with MIA on our new Coconut Mint Chocolate Truffle.  The quality of the chocolate is fabulous, offering absolute provenance and a great opportunity to do some good in Africa with every order we make.”

The collaboration with Hammer & Tongs is part of MIA’s new strategy to target the foodservice sector and the growing number of innovative chefs who are putting greater importance on quality, ingredient provenance, sustainability and social impact.

MIA baking drops (3g) are easy to measure and melt

A new ‘MIA for Chefs’ catering pack is now available in 5-kg bags of 65% dark chocolate specifically made for bakers, chefs and chocolatiers. Those interested in receiving further product information enquire at hello@miafoodie.com.

About Hammer & Tongs

Inspired by a love of traditional South African braai, Hammer & Tongs offers juicy, tender and smoky cuts of meat cooked over wood.

Braai (rhymes with try) is quintessential South African barbecue. Hammer & Tongs only ever cooks with sekelbos (sickle bush) wood imported from Namibia. Sekelbos smoke married with beef, pork, vegetables or fish creates a whole new dining experience and depth of flavour.

South Africans have been braai-ing for thousands of years and over the centuries the flavours have evolved thanks to the diverse culinary influences brought by the many settlers. What has always remained the same is the simplicity of braai and the skill of cooking over woodfires.

The unforgettable flavours experienced at Hammer & Tongs warm the soul. The beer bread, marinades and chutneys are all homemade and inspired by the tastes of the Karoo and Stellenbosch regions of South Africa. Hammer & Tongs source only the highest quality, local, seasonal ingredients. All meat is British free-range and the fish is from sustainable sources.

More at www.hammertongs.co.uk/.

When it comes to drinks that work well with chocolate, rum has to be one of the greatest partners.

Whether it is an aged sipping rum alongside a piece of 100% Cocoa bar or you simply love to add a splash to your favourite bakes, we recommend you experiment this summer ahead of National Rum Day on the 16th August.

To provide a bit of inspiration, we’ve linked up with Happy Skin Kitchen and Guyana’s amazing rum brand El Dorado to create these utterly indulgent, super chocolatey truffles.

The combination of silky coconut milk, rich dark chocolate, gooey dates and aged rum means these truffles are the ultimate chocolate treat. They are also ideal to make in advance as you can store them in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk from a tin

200g of medjool dates – the softer the better

75g of MIA 75% dark chocolate

2 tbsp of maple syrup

2 tbsp of El Dorado Rum – 12 year old

3 tbsp of raw cacao powder

1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste

For the coating:

1/4 cup of chopped hazelnuts or any other nut of your choice

1/4 cup of raw cacao powder

1/2 cup of cacao nibs

Method