Producer Spotlight: Mandala Chocolate
Inspiring Social and Environmental Change One Cacao Bean at a Time
How could someone with a chocolate allergy create a chocolate brand? When Rob Lenfestey was 20 years old, he was running low on food as he was mountaineering in the Wind River Mountains. Although he had been allergic to chocolate his entire life, he decided to try the brownie since it was the only remaining food in their group.
“I looked at the trail ahead and looked at the brownies,” said Lenfestey. “They smelled so good. I decided to take a half portion and give it a try. I figured I wasn’t going to die at least.”
This moment helped Rob realize that his allergy had only been to low quality chocolate, and also led him to his lifelong purpose. “Within a few months I was sitting in a fully stocked raw kitchen making five-pound batches of superfood chocolate for a charity. I made batches for weeks and began the journey of honing my skill as a chocolatier.”
Rob continued to study cacao extensively, living on cacao plantations in Costa Rica and at the Hawaiian Agriculture Research Center in Kauai, where he worked with different varieties of cacao and tropical superfoods. It was there he learned how to grow them abundantly and sustainably. Rob invested over a decade of working with cacao and other superfoods, as well as practicing the art of chocolate making and innovative herbal extraction technology. From his practice, study, and experimentation, Mandala Chocolate was born.
Redefining Business Through Cacao
On top of high-quality chocolate products, Rob and the Mandala Chocolate team hope to make an impact on how consumers view their responsibility to our planet. With every sale, 10 percent goes towards planet positive conservation efforts.
Mandala Chocolate aims to drive planet positive change by redefining business responsibility. How do they do this? For starters, all their chocolate bars are organic. They sources herbs from sustainable growers or use ethical wild harvesting methods. Additionally, sources directly from farmers who love and honor the cacao plant. They commit to paying fair wages and transparency in their supply chain.
“At Mandala, our business model empowers our customers and suppliers, connects with the land, and uses radical accountability, integrity, and transparency as a beacon towards a better future.”
The organization works to maintain sustainability throughout their agricultural processes as well. In fact, their efforts set a national precedent through partnership with the national forests. This partnership enables sustainable wildharvesting of herbs from public lands. The initiative protects these same lands from lumber interests and encourages the return of old growth forests.
Mandala Chocolate: A Lifestyle & Community
Not only is Mandala Chocolate committed to sustainability within their company, they also hope to bring communities together through spirituality and lifestyle. “Mandala is creating a community of people who are ready for a radically different lifestyle.” Mandala promotes living with curiosity and adventure. The brand aims to strengthen connections with our natural world. Their philosophy encourages us to hone our minds, bodies, and spirits.
Products, Resources, & More
Mandala offers a wide range of vegan products. They all are soy, gluten, and dairy free, plus non-GMO and USDA organic.
Discover more of their products on their marketplace profile. And take a browse to find even more great producers while you’re there.