Menakao is a range of dark chocolate bars as well as milk chocolate containing premium quality cocoa from organic plantations in the Sambirano Valley in northwest Madagascar. Menakao is produced by the Madagascar based chocolate factory CINAGRA.
While the Menakao brand was launched in 2011, Cinagra is a producer of fine quality chocolates since 2006. The factory is located on the outskirts of Antananarivo, approximately 15 kilometres from the capital centre. About 20 full-time employees work at the factory, where production facilities meet HACCP standards.
The Cassam Chenai family
"150 years ago Cassam Chenai migrated from North-West India to the North-East of Madagascar. Traders for many generations, they immediately started selling postcards... business grew and expanded to the export of spices, cocoa and coffee. In 2006, I, Shahin – the 4th generation born in this beautiful island – decided to launch the dreamlike project of producing fine chocolate to enlighten and delight the world with one of the most beautiful jewels of our country, the fine cocoa beans of the region of Sambirano."
MENA means red in Malagasy. Red like the colour of our cocoa lands, rich in mineral sediments deposited by our Sambirano river, red like the tones of the colour of our chocolate. Red like Red Island, the island of Madagascar.
Our story :
At the beginning a conversation between two friends, Shahin Cassam Chenai and a cocoa planter.
2005: With the help of a consultant and French Maître Chocolatier, the set-up of the production unit and the development of the recipes start.
2006: First tests. Launch in May of TSAR and EKLAT on the Malagasy market. October: participation to the Salon du Chocolat in Paris with TSAR.
2007: Second participation to the salon du chocolat. Our milk 44 % receives the 2nd prize of the « chocolate award ».
2008: 3rd participation to the salon du chocolat.
2009: 4th participation to the Salon du Chocolat. Our 63 % with sea salt and nibs receives the «chocolate award» 1stprize.
2010: Initiation of MENAKAO. The purpose is to create a premium chocolate brand targeting the European Market.
2011: July : implementation of a HACCP production chart. December: MENAKAO is launched in Europe, first with a line of bars dedicated to retailers. A professional line will follow spring 2012.
2012: our line of chocolate couverture dedicated to professionals is launched.
June: Menakao 72 % dark chocolate bar is nominated semi-finalist in the "international Chocolate Awards 2012", "dark chocolate - producing country" category.
July: our dark chocolate bars 63 % combava and pink pepper and 63 % cocoa nibs and sea salt received a gold 2* star medal from the Great Taste Awards competition.
2013: Mars : our "63 % dark chocolate bar with sea salt and fleur de sel" received the Bronze medal from the "Awards of Chocolate - AOC".