I first met Bernard Duclose at the Valrhona exhiit at the 2003 NY Chocolate Show. He gave me a big bag full of Valrhona bars in exchange for one of my Amy's Chocolate t-shirts. He told me that I ought to go to the Paris Chocolate Show (Salon du Chocolat) and he said that he would give me VIP tickets to get in. I haven't gotten there yet, but maybe someday I will.
Bernard is now Chief Operating Officer of Republica del Cacao which is devoted to growing Arriba beans in Ecuador and manufacturing the chocolate right there. When I saw Bernard at the last Chocolate Show, and told him of my desire to go to Africa, he encouraged me to select Ghana. I took his advice and am so glad I did.