Fortuna Chocolate 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 his sister, Spencer Bowie made the decision to live closer to the couple and
rented 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 42 nd 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 on Pearl St, Dry Storage at the
Peloton in Boulder, and at The Aspen Art Museum in Aspen. Visit the online shop and sign up
for the monthly Fortuna Zine to receive news about their upcoming projects and products.