Djordje Krstich was teaching English in Brazil when the idea for Ipanema Valley fruit brownies was born. He was trekking up a mountain with a knapsack borrowed from a local, and when his water ran out in the 45C heat, he was exhausted and “in desperate need of electrolytes.”
He noticed something in the knapsack with the label BANANA NATURAL - MUITA ENERGIA, ate it, and regained the strength to finish his hike.
The next day, Djordje found a man named Sr. Nelson (bottom left in photo) willing to export the product. Excited, he went home and asked his friend Telmo to be his business partner. That part was simple, but getting the fruit brownies to Canada was not. After nine months of calls to his supplier with no word, Djordje was losing faith. But his persistence finally paid off - cue the plane to Rio!
After landing, the start of a wild Brazilian adventure that included a car hi-jacking and a trip to a deserted bingo hall began. But after a long first day in Brazil with Sr. Nelson, the partners didn’t have any reassurance they’d get what they came for; he wasn’t talking business. At all.
Feeling defeated, Djordje decided to go for a swim. “I thought being underwater was a good existential metaphor for what was happening - to pin all your hopes and dreams, wait so long, only for someone not to reciprocate.”
Then, on the way home from the plantation, Nelson turned to Djordje and Telmo and said, "You're a part of the family. We can do business." Relief!
Ipanema Valley fruit brownies are produced in Cachoeiras de Macacu, a paradise of nutrient-rich soils that are ideal for banana, guava, and pineapple cultivation. It's an intense process to make them: bananas are blasted in high-pressure pots, which concentrates them by 80% - 1 kg of bananas turns into .250 gr of brownie! In other words, they taste like a denser, moister fruit leather with a ton of flavour.
A portion of North American profits goes to the Ipanema Valley Foundation to support the people who produce the fruit brownies, making it a true Canada-Brazil partnership!
To learn more about Ipanema Valley products, you can watch their video or find out where to buy them.
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