Founded by three creative travelers, the company traces roots to Mexico City where Aldo Ramirez was born and was running the bar program for the largest club in the capital. It’s also where he met Sienna Trapp Bowie who had been living in the city and working for an L.A based fashion brand. The two united and explored the city’s gastronomical secrets by bike before leaving to build a life together in Japan. And it was there, also by bicycle, that the vision began to take form.
After visiting, Spencer Bowie made the decision to live closer to Sienna and Aldo, renting an apartment down the street from them, near the modern Tokyo Tower, in an old neighborhood of central Tokyo. For the next couple of years the three explored the capital’s culinary treasures; late nights in Tsukiji fish market, old school geisha bars in Ginza, farm to table in ultra modern Roppongi, perfect French pastries in cobblestoned Azabu, raw chicken in the classic beatnik neighborhood Asagaya and hybrid noodles in punk rock Koenji.
Aldo was working at an exclusive bar on the 42nd floor of the world trade center mixing custom cocktails, tasting the contents of the world’s finest bottles and pairing them with chocolates that were produced in collaboration with Maison du Chocolate for special guests. This led the three to investigating further into the specialty chocolate available in Tokyo and eventually deciding to make their own.
Leaving Japan a few months before Spencer; Sienna and Aldo spent some time at Bogedal, a brewery 2 hours from Copenhagen, Denmark. After a few emails the couple had arranged a special situation, living with the family on site and learning how to brew the very beer they had enjoyed on special occasions in Japan. Further developing the blueprints what would become Fortuna Chocolate, they left Denmark with more understanding about how they would build an artisanal brand focused on high quality and a short supply chain.
Returning to Mexico, the couple met a scientist serving as head of the Tropical Trees Department for the University of Veracruz and spent some time with him and a group of 20 Mazateco families living in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains in northeastern Oaxaca learning how to graft premium cacao cuttings, cultivate, harvest, ferment and dry cacao themselves - a set of skills that is quickly disappearing in Mexico. Not long after and with a personal introduction the two spent time with the third generation of cacaoteros operating the prestigious La Joya estate in Tabasco and it was there they purchased the very first 20kg premium of cacao. Spencer returned to Boulder from Japan and the three began producing chocolate together in earnest.
All of the chocolate that the team currently produces comes from a 26’ chocolate factory on wheels. Once a mobile library, the large truck has been outfitted by the team to produce chocolate for local restaurants and special collaborations. The 6’ wooden deck that folds down once the machines turn off and the huge service window opens, is meant to encourage conversational lingering and to provide the opportunity for eye level hospitality.
A regular part of the Boulder Farmers Market, you can also find their chocolate at the Denver Botanic Gardens, The Mercantile at Union Station, Cured and Dry Storage in Boulder, and at The Aspen Art Museum in Aspen, Colorado. Visit them online to sign up for the monthly Fortuna Zine for custom playlists, follow them on Facebook to learn more about their chocolate making world and friend them on Instagram to see behind the scenes.
Colorado Rising Star 2017 / Best for Colorado 2018 / Good Food 100 (full 6 links)