Journey to the Heart of Cocoa

The founder of Ivy City, Vyacheslav ‘Slava’ Polonski volunteered on a cocoa farm this summer in Bahia, Brazil. Here are his impressions.

In April 2012, I became UK’s student of the year. I had the supreme honour to be chosen as the national winner of the ‘Future Business Leader of the Year 2012’ award, which was sponsored by Mars Inc. at the annual TARGETjos ‘Undergraduate of the Year Awards’. I went through a long selection process, which consisted of several tests, interviews, case studies, group exercises and presentations, and was invited with the other seven finalists to the gala awards ceremony in Canary Wharf, London. I remember when Amanda Davies read out my name as the unique national winner of the award, there was a sense of relief and happiness, but it was only when the Rt. Hon Michael Portillo passed me on the glass prize with my name engraved in it I allowed myself to believe it. From that moment I couldn’t stop grinning like a Cheshire cat – nothing could wipe the joy from my face. When you realise your dream, it’s euphoric – there is no better feeling. As part of the award, I was given the opportunity to travel to Brazil for a unique experience at the Mars Center for Cocoa Science to get an insight into the history, present and future of cocoa, and volunteer with the farmers and the local school. During my undergraduate studies in Management at the London School of Economics, I never had to deal with cocoa or agronomy and was thus even more excited about the trip.

On this page you can read about my experience. Stay tuned for weekly updates on this trip!

Part 1: From Finance To Farming

Part 2: Cocoa Science Crash Course

Part 3: Community Work in Bahia

Part 4: Aspiring Chocolatier Apprentice



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