Photo: Robin Skjoldborg
Mikkel Friis-Holm

We are an artisanal company who operate through an agrarian perspective in tune with sustainable values: Micro ecology of place, single origin native cacao varietals and a direct trade model.

There is a basic principal we strongly believe in: The importance of understanding a product and knowing its possibilities… “You need to know what your product is capable of doing in order to release its full potential” says Mikkel.

Mikkel Friis-Holm (founder), is a trained chef by profession and an explorer by vocation; his trajectory in cooking has strongly influenced his trajectory with chocolate.

Back in the day, he gained expertise with an array of gastronomic products and alongside many inspiring figures. In Denmark, he worked with Jan Cocotte Pedersen (most known for the food creations of the film “Babette’s Feast), he co-owned a restaurant in northwest Zealand (where he worked with local producers) and owned a bakery in Copenhagen (where he experimented with many Nordic wheat varietals). Outside of Denmark, he staged in world renowned places such as Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse and Elizabeth Faulkner’s Citizen Cake.

When staging in San Francisco in the 90’s, (a period of California’s up and coming food revolution), Mikkel met John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg of Scharffen Berger Chocolates. At the time, these entrepreneurs were only beginning their trajectory with this legendary brand.The acquaintance evolved into a partnership when Mikkel became their first whole sale distributer in Scandinavia. A growing passion for fine chocolate and further mentorship from John and Robert lead him to meet people in the cacao business in Central America. There, he participated in a fascinating project based in Nicaragua in collaboration with foreign scientists and local farmers. The project consisted in identifying and evaluating DNA strands of native cacao plants that had been latent for centuries in small parcels of the country.

During the last decades, mainly in response to globalization, Central American cacao has been lost; dismissed by both national and international bodies, in the shadows of coffee that economically has been a much more important player for these economies. Nevertheless, the historical use of cacao has a stronger linkage with these lands dating back to Mayan civilization 3,000 years ago.

The immersion and discovery of this new profile of cacao served as motivation for Mikkel to fulfill a long time interest. And in 2008, Friis-Holm Chocolate was born.

The company is based in Denmark where it is run by Mikkel and his family from their home on the skirts of the fjords of northern Zealand.

The chocolate itself is transformed in Voiron France, where Stephane Bonnat, a chocolate maker with a wealth of knowledge, lends his expertise that, together with Mikkel’s progressive ideas, creates a unique partnership. The next step is to have our own bean to bar operation based in Denmark. Stay tuned for these updates…