It all started back in London in 1991 when Craig Sams, founder of Whole Earth – the pioneering organic food company – was sent a sample of dark 70% chocolate made from organic cocoa beans.
His wife, environment columnist for The Times and confirmed chocoholic, Josephine Fairley, found the half eaten bar on Craig's desk and sampled some for herself. The intense flavor was unique and unlike anything she had tasted before. Jo was convinced other chocolate lovers would appreciate it in the same way she had and the couple set about making the world's most pioneering Organic chocolate brand.
The final product was a high-quality, bittersweet dark chocolate bar, packed with 70% cocoa solids - enough to make chocolate fans sit up and take notice.
As the brand began to gain a loyal following, Maya Gold was added to the range in 1994 – the product of a holiday Jo & Craig took to Belize, where they met a group of Mayan smallholder farmers who had planted cocoa trees at the request of a large chocolate company which subsequently withdrew from Belize leaving the farmers with no market. Craig & Jo agreed to buy the farmers cocoa at a fair price and used the beans to create Maya Gold based on the flavour of a traditional Mayan chocolate drink.
This way of doing business didn't seem different to them – it was what came naturally – and in the process, the Maya Gold brand earned them the UK’s first Fairtrade mark for a chocolate product.