ANA MARÍA VILLEGAS
Ana María walked into Mima Market one afternoon with gleaming, golden-wrapped chocolate bars and a modest description of these and other raw, organic cacao products she creates. Her enthusiastic mother-in-law, on the other hand, insisted that we take a bite right away-- so we did, gladly, into a piece of decadent dark chocolate with figs and almonds.
Ana María's interest in chocolate developed after years as a restauranteur in Santa Marta, Colombia, where she sourced local ingredients to transform traditional recipes into a modern dish. It's with the same passion and care that she, now, creates chocolates in small batches that have a balanced sweetness and creaminess.
From the smooth superfood, Peruvian cacao, Ana makes raw chocolate bars, truffles, tarts-- even granola and dipped seasonal fruits. You can find the bars and truffle boxes at the counter at Mima, and order these rich tarts for special events.
PREPARING FOR THE PARTY
Below, Ana María tops her raw cacao hazelnut tart with hazelnut caramel and dark chocolate shards. The process is lengthy-- besides making her chocolate from scratch from raw cacao, each nut and fruit is dehydrated to maintain its nutrients. She blends nuts into nut m*lk for creamy fillings and caramels, chops them up for chocolate bars, truffles, and granolas, and processes into even smaller morsels for nutty crusts that make the base of her tarts.