Baianí chocolate bars carry the tradition of the Pinheiro and Aquino families, both part of the cacao farming tradition in Bahia since the end of the 19th Century. Owned by the Pinheiro family since 1973, Santa Rita farm, is where Vale Potumujú is located.
A native from the state of Bahia, Juliana spent good part of her life living in Salvador, the State’s capital, where she started her career as a professional singer. Moved to New York to marry Tuta Aquino, her partner in life and in business. She went back to Brazil after consolidating her musical career promoting Brazilian music in the USA and abroad with 2 Bossa Nova albums recorded. In 2015 got a gastronomy degree from Universidade Anhembi-Morumbi in São Paulo. At that same time started getting back in touch with her father’s farm, Fazenda Santa Rita, reliving hers and Tuta’s precious childhood memories of cacao harvesting and processing. To confirm the progress of the new post-harvest protocols installed to improve the quality of their cacao, Juliana started making small batches of Bean to Bar Chocolate, since it’s common knowledge that only by tasting the chocolate one can really recognize craft quality cacao beans. After two years of tests and development, the bars started to call the attention of chocolate experts, the final encouragement the Aquinos needed to launch their own brand. Baianí was released commercially in early 2018 and is available in Brazil and abroad.
Tuta was born in Bahia and spent his first 10 years living at his family’s cacao farm. From there he resided in São Paulo and at age 18 sailed to study in New York City. For the next 20 years, he developed his music business career working for the Record Industry there. Married his childhood friend Juliana and after a few years, the couple returned to Brazil. Tuta is still active in music with his own production company, DOREMIX, but since 2012 has increasingly devoted his time reconstructing, along with Juliana, Fazenda Santa Rita-Vale Potumuju, her family’s farm, severely affected by the Witch’s Broom disease that was criminally introduced in the region in 1990’s. Tuta was already researching for ways to increase the value of their cacao when stumbled upon the Bean to Bar industry as a potential outlet for the farm’s production. With increased productivity improving the quality of the beans produced at Vale Potumuju, Tuta encouraged Juliana to perfect her recipes that are today part of Baianí’s line of bars.