In a boatyard turned small factory in the riverside community of Acará-Açu in the Brazilian Amazon, the Cacao Guardians chocolate cooperative makes magic. It began In 2021 when Diana Gemaque, 33, and several other women were invited to a workshop by the Amazonian chocolatier César De Mendes. Eight of them formed the Cacao Guardians, which now produces 130kg of chocolate a month from fermented beans supplied by her cousin Zeno, who buys the fruit from communities along the river. They mostly produce bars of 100% cocoa for a client in São Paulo; the rest is sold in shops in Belém and at chocolate fairs as 20g bars, named Acaráçu. The business, which makes 7,000 reais (£1,164) a month on average, hopes to expand. The women take home 300 to 500 reais monthly, and also have found companionship and purpose in their work.

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