Fire Mountain: The New, Luxury, Ethical Chocolate Start-up.

Launched this year in 2021, Fire Mountain is a new, luxury chocolate company – that is passionate about producing ethical products (harvested in Mount Cameroon).

Made from cocoa beans (and harvested in the rich volcanic soil of Mount Cameroon, – an active volcano, which is over 70 million years old), Fire Mountain is no ordinary chocolate: it’s a craft chocolate, which is produced using a ‘bean-to-bar’ process. The cocoa is ethically-sourced using sustainable packaging, AND it contains no additives.

It’s a rich, dark, single-origin Cameroonian chocolate, and much like a speciality cheese (or a fiery chilli), – there’s something about it. It’s those unique bursts of flavour that makes Fire Mountain chocolate an unforgettable tasting experience.

But it’s not just the products that are unique: the process behind how the business operates is unique, too: as well as producing delicious, luxury products, Fire Mountain also prides itself on it’s ethical production. After working in the coffee and cocoa business for almost 10 years, the Founders (Paul Bup and Mike Paul) saw first hand, – the poverty and the challenges faced by the farmers, and so they decided to do something about it.

Fire Mountain helps to develop the farmers’ capacity through education (including financial literacy and effective farming methods) to improve their productivity, and their yield per hectare. Now, the smallholders that farm(s) the soil for Fire Mountain are also its stakeholders. It’s what the Founders call “farmer to bar.”

“We believe that the best things in life should be shared. And that’s why we want you to share the unmistakable taste of Fire Mountain Chocolate, but we also want our farmers to share the rewards for their hard work,” said Fire Mountain’s Co-Founder, Mike Paul.

“It’s funny how crop rotation works in a cycle, because that’s how we run our business: one big circle, and one big family. By supporting local farmers, we grow a community as well as a crop. Families aren’t forced to flee for employment. We fight against child labour: an education for our children, and a fair price for our farmers. We’re sustainable and traceable. When we harvest, we ALL share the benefits of our beans,” said Fire Mountain’s other Co-Founder, Paul Bup.

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Born in Cameroon (and a secondary school teacher of Computer Science and ICT), Fire Mountain’s Co-Founder, Paul Bup comes from a family with a background in farming, and a community with a lot of farmers. Paul has been trading in cocoa and coffee since 2013, and he’s developed a good understanding of the cocoa value chain. Finding a way to reward the farmers a bit more for their hard work became a personal mission of his.

Fire Mountain’s other Co-Founder, Mike Paul, – has had a long career as an IT Business analyst in the energy industry. Through this, Paul and Mike met as part of a team who were trying to initiate an off-grid solar energy project in Cameroon. Paul’s original idea was to use solar power to dry the cocoa beans more efficiently.

Fire Mountain’s first venture into the public arena was at one of the worlds most prestigious chocolate events, – the Salon du Chocolat in Paris (which was sponsored by the International Trade Centre’s United Kingdom Trade Partnerships Programme (UKTP), and funded by the United Kingdom). The ITC is the joint agency of the United Nations and the WTO. It’s the ONLY multilateral agency fully dedicated to supporting the internationalisation of SMEs.

Next up, was the renowned foodie event, Chocfest (which was held on the 13th-14th November this year (2021). The highlight of the weekend was the official announcement of Fire Mountain’s launch, in conjunction with the international chocolate consultant, David Greenwood-Haigh. David commended their chocolate on stage, and he used it for a public demonstration. The result? Fire Mountain sold hundreds of bars of chocolate.

As it stands, Fire Mountain chocolate can be bought from BigBarn, Fine Food Angels, and directly.

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