Finding A Formula for Connection in the Cacao Lab

The power of Cacao takes on a whole new meaning for Florencia and Eric Fridman, founders of New York’s Cacao Lab. Read on to learn just why!

The Fridman siblings will be hosting a very special workshop in our Soho pop-up space TONIGHT (12/20) at 7pm — connecting to the deeper self through the essence of Cacao. Be sure to get into your comfy clothes and sign up here. Below, we asked Florencia a few questions about how Cacao Lab came to be, and to better understand the sanctity of this wondrous being.


Your zodiac sign:


Ok, I just read about your brother and you fighting over chocolate as youngsters — this is an amazing story. How did it serve as the beginning of Cacao Lab?

Much of our childhood/teenage years, we rebelled against each other. Working often from the ego, we both created very little space for each other to be heard and supported. Cacao has allowed us to work with more compassion, truly listening to each other’s needs and honoring each other’s truth. Cacao Lab has become more than just our business. Through Cacao, we have created safe and sacred spaces to support each other. Working more from a place of love and less from fear. Chocolate has been a big part of us since we were young kids — now we finally understand the sanctity of chocolate and the magic it can bring to our lives. 
What were the biggest cultural shifts you experienced, leaving Argentina and moving to the US?
The language, for one. I spoke no English when I moved to the States, and it really blocked me from being able to express myself. I closed off a lot and became very insecure. This journey with Cacao has helped me regain my authenticity and self empowerment. 
Another big shift was the sense of isolation. My family is very close, and we support each other as a community. In the States, it feels like many people are working for the individual instead of the collective, and it brought me to feel really alone and disconnected growing up. Luckily, my mom has always guided us on a spiritual path which allowed me to always feel nurtured. 
How did you and Eric source the farm in Guatemala that you currently work with?
We work with a few different communities. One is a family who has shared a lot of the Maya teachings we use in our ceremonies. They prove to be a big reason why we feel so connected to Guatemala. 
Another is a self-run community. They make their own regulations, their own laws. There are about 195 families that are part of that community, and they all work as a collective with Cacao, coconut, ginger, and a few other goods. We spend a lot of time in Guatemala and different friends have brought us to the places where we source. 
Same thing happened in Ecuador. We’ve always been guided into the places where we land. And we always like to visit the places from which we’re sourcing so we can connect directly, be part of their story as they are a big part of ours. 
What does high-vibrational cacao mean?
It’s important to take into consideration a few concepts when evaluating the quality of ceremonial Cacao:
Soil: It’s important to make sure the soil is nourished and not being depleted by mass production.
Agroforestry: Making sure there is diversity in the trees being grown.
The communities are taken care of well. It’s not just the environment, it’s also the culture who works with Cacao that is a priority.
The process of the Cacao. Harvesting, fermentation, roasting, grounding. The harvest is five in a way to verify that the production is ripe at the right point. Because of mass production many farmers in Guatemala are skipping the fermentation process which affects flavor and absorption. 
Top 5 benefits of cacao:
1. Theobromine is the active component of Ceremonial Cacao. This compound dilates blood vessels, stimulates blood flow. This gives us energy without making us jittery.
2. High levels of magnesium. Magnesium has many roles within the human body, but some include relaxation of muscles, joints, nervous system, heart. 
The duality of magnesium and Theobromine create a beautiful balance of being awake and alert but also relaxed. 
3. Cacao contains tryptophan which eventually turns into serotonin. This supports mood stability. 
4. Releases endorphins in the body. 
5. Contains anandamide, known as the bliss molecule. Creating a state of bliss and tranquility. 
Can you share a personal experience about how cacao has shaped/changed you?

There are unlimited ways in which Cacao has changed my life. For one, it has given me purpose. Seeing how much we can support the communities that are often forgotten and providing a place for them to share their offerings (Cacao), but to also educate people unfamiliar with the indigenous communities about their stories, traditions, issues, and solutions makes me excited to wake up each day. No day feels like just another day anymore. 
But the biggest gift has been the relationship with my brother. My brother and I had a very difficult time understanding each other and being able to communicate properly. We would go months without speaking to each other. We had very different views and it made it difficult to get our points across. Through Cacao, we have understood the sacredness of creating safe containers for each other to be heard. We empower each other and honor each other’s truth. Cacao has allowed us to quiet the ego and work more from the heart. We now have a company that brings us closer and closer each day. 
Song that best represents you and your brother!
“Medicine” by Riding Appalachia.
Favorite place you’ve ever visited/why?
Guatemala has become like my second home. The land is pure magic. The volcanic soil brings everything to life. This is also the place where I found myself and my purpose. I love how alive the Mayan traditions are still and how connected the indigenous communities are to their elders and ancestors.
Do you like vanilla?
Only if it’s in my Cacao! 🙃
What can we expect from your workshop/session in NY?
Open hearts, deep connection to the self, deep connection to the circle. There will be sharing of the curious mind, sharing of traditions, history, and benefits of Cacao along with sound journey and pranayama work. 
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I love to join a cacao workshop one day! Sounds so exciting!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

5 years ago

Great post! :)