River-Sea Chocolate: The Remarkable Journey from Rainforest Roots to Artisanal Mastery
River-Sea Chocolates was born out of the synergy between cacao, the rainforests that nurture it, and the winding waterways that sustain it. Its commitment to stewardship is unwavering, as it imports cacao directly via wind-powered cargo ships, minimizing its carbon footprint and ensuring traceability in every piece of chocolate it creates.
A bean-to-bar chocolate maker, River-Sea Chocolates is located in Chantilly, Virginia. Founders Mariano and Krissee D’Aguiar started making chocolate in 2017 after visiting family in Brazil. Their son, who was 10 at the time, climbed a cacao tree in a family member's backyard, then brought a pod down and asked how to make chocolate from it. That's what started their journey into chocolate making! When they came back to the US, they began making chocolate bars, first renting a small 100sqft space in a shared kitchen, and working other jobs to make ends meet.
Having an owner who comes from a cacao-growing region provides a unique aspect to being a US-based chocolate manufacturer. River-Sea bridges both worlds of grower and maker, advocating for all.
Mariano visits cacao producers as much as possible, creating relationships with single-estates, and providing continuous feedback on River-Sea’s fermentation practices to hone in on the most desirable flavor traits. River-Sea directly imports the cacao, and this enables it to offer origins that other bean-to-bar makers don't have, like Thailand and Gomes, Brazil.