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The Skipper

Joel Dar - Co-founder

Joel worked in film and TV productions for 25 years. He lived in many different countries, exploring culture, arts and crafts. A gifted photographer, he seeks beauty everywhere and captures it in his camera.

Joel is also a qualified skipper, who spent many hours at sea. Though his main traveling was done by air, he was always connected to the ocean and usually lived near it. It was, in fact, what he thought he would be doing when he first came to Costa Rica. As it turned out, in Costa Rica he met cacao, which led him to Denver Colorado – a place with no ocean…

Today he applies his sea-faring skills to the management of the company. 

“To found and run a company is like sailing around the world” he says. "Navigating to your destination is never a straight line. The weather, waves and currents are constantly changing and we have to go with the flow, not against it”.

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The Movement Geek

Gila Kaplan - Co-founder

Gila started out her professional career as an illustrator and graphic designer. For many years she worked in editorial illustrations for all major newspapers and magazines in Israel. Following the birth of her daughter Alma, she slowly but surely turned into a movement geek. A seasoned 5 Rhythms dancer, she also just earned her degree as a Certified Movement Analyst from the Laban-Bartenieff movement institute. When her path connected to cacao and chocolate, she incorporated her talent and experience in graphic design into the business. 

 

Gila is currently responsible for the visual identity, design, and marketing for the company.

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The Chocolate Whisperer

Sima Amsalem - Master Chocolatier

Sima has always had a special connection to chocolate. As a child, she used to take a bar of chocolate in a bun as her sandwich for school. One look at a stream of liquid chocolate is enough for her to know whether it is perfectly tempered or needs a half degree change. In 2004 Sima fulfilled her dream and opened her own chocolate company in Ein Karem, near Jerusalem. The place became a center for workshops and a tourist attraction, and her products were sold all over at high end stores.

 

In 2018 Sima followed her heart to Boulder, Colorado, and in 2019 she joined the DAR team, and has run the factory since. Her magic touch and her light bird-like movements all around the kitchen make every day a celebration.

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The Artist

Lise Swanson - Chief of Operations

As a teenager, her family moved from the forest to the desert where she honed her creative abilities and problem-solving skills, setting in momentum her journey to living professionally as an artist. 

 

Always applying art to life, Lise eventually found herself working in the Colorado cannabis industry, leading her from the small city of Pueblo to the big city of Denver, where she then found herself trading cannabis for chocolate – really living the sweet life!