Episode 1: The Hunt
We’re in a small Cessna flying over the Bolivian Amazon. It’s 2010, and our host, Rowan, is accompanying Volker Lehmann into the deep jungle on a quest to find a new supply of wild cacao. But things start disastrously: when it looks like all the airstrips are flooded, they’re forced to make an emergency landing on a homemade runway… only to be confronted at gunpoint by the narcotraffickers living there. We flash back for a quick dive into chocolate’s backstory: Sacred drink of the Maya and Aztec, stolen by the Spanish and transformed into a worldwide delicacy, now grown mostly in Africa with the help of slave labor. And then we meet a woman who is changing that and returning chocolate to its sacred roots: Luisa Abram, a young Brazilian who visits an ayahuasca cult in the Amazon that gathers wild cacao, joins their all-night ayahuasca ceremonies, and settles on her life’s vision: To make chocolate with the peoples of Amazonia. Cut back to 2010: Volker manages to bribe his way out of the situation, and Rowan and Voker’s journey to find wild cacao begins.