GLAD to meet you, sustainable chocolate!

Wander through one of the Porto’s (Portugal) charming streets and you might come across a peculiar shop. GLAD is a brand of artisanal and sustainable chocolate, in which master chocolate makers select, process, and refine cocoa beans from different origins.

There’s an old Portuguese saying, that goes something like “What is sweet has never been sour”, and chocolate lovers all over the world certainly feel so; however, much of the world’s cocoa production tells a different story. One that Brazilian sisters Marcella and Katrin Cavalcanti wanted to sweeten by giving it a different and happier ending. In 2020, after choosing Portugal to set up their business, they opened GLAD chocolate shop. The brand gained a showroom dedicated to its chocolates, two production rooms, including the kitchen-lab where magic happens, and an atelier where weekly workshops take place.

What does “bean-to-bar” actually mean?

Bean-to-bar is an established method that has recently been adopted by many chocolate shops around the world. The concept entails that chocolate is made directly from cocoa beans and not from previously mass processed cocoa, bought from industrial producers. The chocolate maker is in charge of the entire process, from the selection of the cocoa beans down to the chocolate bar, allowing for a closer and more responsible relationship with cocoa producers – and ensuring artisanal and sustainable manufacturing.

Several stages of the cocoa production process: raw cocoa beans, roasted cocoa beans, processed cocoa, ground cocoa nibs, chocolate bar.

GLAD chocolate’s journey begins in four locations: Nicaragua, Madagascar, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic. The fruits of the cacao tree are opened, its seeds are fermented – becoming cocoa beans. The beans are then dried in the sun or in a dehydrator and, once hard and brittle, they are packaged and shipped to chocolate shops around the world – including GLAD’s. The rest of the process takes place in the shop: manual selection, “winnowing” (i.e., peeling the beans), roasting, and grinding cocoa nibs, essentially cocoa in its pure state. This grinding process creates “chocolate liqueur” which, after several days of maturation, is tempered and placed in moulds – until it is ready to taste.

Ground cocoa nibs in a GLAD shop.

Ground cocoa nibs.

Chocolate liqueur being placed in moulds, in a GLAD shop.

"Chocolate liqueur" being placed in moulds.

GLAD chocolate bars made with cocoa from different origins: Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Madagascar.

GLAD chocolate already packed.

A chocolate bar that “speaks” to you

At GLAD, simplicity reigns: products are natural, with few ingredients, the result of uncomplicated recipes. The base of the chocolate bars contains only ground cocoa beans, cocoa butter, and coconut sugar – with a more interesting nutritional profile than refined sugar and a lower environmental impact.

These are vegan chocolates, free of food additives, that provide a very different gastronomic experience. Try a GLAD chocolate bar with 70% cocoa from the Dominican Republic and you will find notes of cherries, peanuts, and caramel – even though the bars themselves don’t contain any of these ingredients.

How to taste chocolate?

Eating chocolate puts senses to the test. First, feel the aroma, then the texture, and finally put a piece in your mouth – don't bite into it, let it melt slowly. This makes tasting chocolate a richer experience, and engages the tongue and the back of the throat, where smell and taste merge.

Each tablet “speaks”. GLAD’s packaging has a straightforward design to match the product, where you can read more about the country of origin and about the plantation, farm, or property where the cocoa comes from. Some words stand out from the label, like “single origin” (meaning that the cocoa beans were sourced from a single place) or the “%” sign. The higher the percentage, more cocoa in the bar and more benefits.

Sweet & conscious gifts

You don’t need a special occasion to give a loved one a small treat, but these GLAD chocolates make great birthday, Christmas or Valentine’s Day gifts. The tablets are available in various shops across the country or in GLAD online shop, in eight varieties: four types of dark chocolate, corresponding to each location (Ecuador, Madagascar, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua), and four flavours (raspberry, Alentejo almond, Algarve sea salt, and lastly, coffee, oats and nibs).