SPAGnVOLA is a chocolatier with a commitment to quality and community that spans from its Dominican Republic mountainside farmland to its truffle factory and café boutique in Kentlands, Gaithersburg, Maryland. SPAGnVOLA opened its Main Street doors in 2010. Customers can enjoy premium locally-made chocolate truffles, bonbons and bars with a Caribbean artisan flair in a relaxing café, and take a tour of the chocolate factory.
Our values guide all of our decisions here at SPAGnVOLA . We’ve been raising and cultivating exotic fruit trees for years at AgroCriso, our Dominican Republic farm. When we turned our attention to the cacao trees in 2008, we began researching cacao harvesting and chocolate making. Our SPAGnVOLA single estate chocolate was born from the realization that traditional cacao farming practices and chocolate industry buying practices did not match our values. By owning the entire process, from cacao tree to truffle, we keep our high quality cacao from becoming co-mingled as a fungible commodity, and we gain the ability to share opportunity with our farmers. For instance, we encourage the people who work on our land in the Dominican Republic to farm the earth below our fruit trees for profit in addition to their salary. Our dedication to sharing opportunity locally inspired our partnership with Sports Plus, which helps local children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. We created a special chocolate for Sports Plus, which receives all of the proceeds, and we developed unique factory tours and chocolate making classes for children and families with special needs.
The business impact of our decision to share opportunity became evident to us as we observed the work ethic and skills development of two particular employees who work in our factory. The way they master and take ownership of their tasks – cleaning chocolate moulds, tempering the chocolate and roasting our cacao beans— is an asset and an inspiration to our chocolate making team. Our choice to fill two positions with the help of the Maryland State Department of Education Division of Rehabilitative Services (DORS) reminded us why we’re in business. It’s not just chocolate. Everyone wants and deserves opportunity.