Today we have a special interview with Corina Gimenez, Corina is a chocolate maker who received a bronze medal at the International Chocolate Awards in their Scandinavian edition, where they rewarded her dark chocolate bar.
She is a Venezuelan entrepreneur who decided to emigrate to Norway, for more than seven years ago, and who started an attractive business for her passion for chocolate.
Among the innumerable attractions of Venezuela, one of the most recognized products in the national and international scope is the cocoa and chocolate that is made of this raw material.
In that contest, Giménez used seeds from the South of the Lake of Maracaibo as a base to create a 75% dark bar with organic sugar, which she infused “with juniper berries, inclusion him with nibs of Carenero seeds and dehydrated blueberry powder” said Corina.
When did you decide to make a career in the gastronomic world?
I had just become a food stylist and I figured that I should know more about how to make real food. I was drawn to the editorial part of the business rather than the marketing/fake/fast food side of it so I took culinary education in Caracas.
What was your first work in the gastronomic world?
Right after culinary school, we had to go for an internship to complete the diploma. Since I got good grades I was referred to Sibaris a top restaurant in Caracas at the time; its head chef Sumito Estevez is a great influencer when it comes to Venezuelan food culture so, it was a dream came true to be part of his team; it was my first encounter with the kitchen life and its craziness.
What do you like about your job?
That is both challenging and ephemeral… it is gone after the last bite but it can touch your customer’s heart.
Tell us about your chocolate company
Well, it came about for selfish reasons, I really missed the fine cacao flavour that I knew all too well from Venezuela, so I decided to import Venezuelan cacao beans into Norway… (boy! little I knew what I was getting into) Most chocolate makers around the world would agree that our cacao is of outstanding quality, but is really difficult to get it so it was a big challenge to meet the right supplier to work with, but at the end, another colleague put me in contact with the Francesci farm and my dream came true.
Tell us about your chocolate creations
I try to steer away from dairy products only because I think they dilute the real flavours and it sort of puts a limitation on them. I taste the cacao and use it as a platform to deliver other flavours. When it comes to my chocolate bars I have a soft spot for inclusions because I think they are so much fun to challenge the palate and the brain to enhance the chocolate eating experience.
Tell us about your experience in the chocolate awards
It was the suggestion of a good friend of mine to participate. I only wanted to gain experience to the journey of taking part in such competition, truly I didn’t expect I would win, so when I got the news I was the first one who was surprised, so winning a medal in the Scandinavian rounds gave me an opportunity to go to the world finals that took place last October and where I met with colleagues and ate loads of handcrafted chocolates made with bean from all over the world.
Tell us about juniper why the name?
The name came pretty straightforward my bar is infused with juniper berries they are found abundantly in this region they are used to produce gin, and that’s the reason why some customers ask whether I added any alcohol to it, I find it hilarious and fascinating how our brains can connect our tasting experiences with other products.
What is going to be your next step in your career?
My focus is to continue using Venezuelan cacao including other regions, right now I have Sur del Lago, Rio Caribe and Carenero, there are so many but the nirvana will be the day I get some chuao beans in my lab.
About my packaging.
I work with these couple of geniuses that are: Daniela Fonseca and Alvaro Cova (Instagram @this.aint.a.picnic) and they came up with this visual proposal… in turn inspired by cinetic art, so the idea that my chocolate bar is not only a tasting experience but also a visual one just make my brand what I wanted. There is no use to have a great product when the packaging does not make the customer curious and want to pick him up from the shelves, it is exhausting being a chocolate maker but is so rewarding at the same time.
To know more about Corina, please visit: Xoco