Boutique chocolate from the Holy Land! 

Cocoa Forest is a Jerusalem-based boutique chocolate company founded by Yaara Kalmanovitch in 2016.
Yaara Kalmanovitch is a wife, a mom, a former lawyer, and now a beloved chocolatier in Jerusalem!

She grew up on a kibbutz in Jerusalem called Beit Yisrael. (House of Israel) Her father instilled a love of nature in her, taking her for walks in the Jerusalem Forest and the Negev Desert. Together, they would harvest fruit and plants, and Yaara fell in love with the tastes of the Holy Land! Even her name hints at her love of the land. Yaara comes from the Hebrew root for the word ‘forest!’

Yaara had a fascinating journey to becoming a chocolatier. She worked as a lawyer for eight years and ran a center for at-risk youth. Yaara saw the best way to help people struggling within the system would be to engage them in creative, productive work. She saw that a little bit of stability could change lives.

Cocoa Forest boutique chocolate factory is nestled behind a signature blue door in the Jerusalem Talpiot neighborhood. Yaara's business has humble beginnings.

She first became interested in making chocolate when she attended a short course for hobbyists. The chocolate bug bit her, and she joined an online chocolate-making group. It started with trading recipes and became a regular meet-up where group members shared their creations.

Yaara's first big success was inspired by Jerusalem Kuge, which has a sweet and spicy flavor. She wanted to bring this distinct Jerusalem flavor into the world of chocolate, so she mixed salt and caramel with the chocolates and had a hit! She loves the flavor, which is always a reminder of Jerusalem for her!

She brings her childhood's wild flavors to her chocolate. Unexpected additions of fresh pine nuts from the Jerusalem Hills, mint and basil, passionflower, mulberries, cherries, apples, dates, and even halva make their way into her creations!
The spirit at Cocoa Forest is one of empowerment and collaboration! Yaara continues experimenting with unusual and unexpected pairings, but now she does it with the assistance of her outstanding employees! She encourages everyone to be part of the creative process.

Yaara is obsessed with using the best quality ingredients she can source. She believes that if a recipe calls for fruit, it has to be real Israeli fruit picked at its peak and freeze-dried to preserve and maintain its flavor. Her raw materials are sourced from Israeli farmers and the best chocolate producers in the world.

The cocoa Forest products are made with milk produced in dairies in the Holy Land, which is another way of honoring the land.

Each chocolate bar, truffle, or praline that Yaara and her team make is her way of sharing Israel's beauty, sweetness, and love with others. It is her way of passing the gift her father gave her to others.
Everyone at Cocoa Forest is passionate about chocolate and loves sharing the secrets of great chocolate-making with others.
Yaara loves empowering her employees to find their strengths and talents; one way of doing that is by having her team members lead chocolate-making workshops. Each praline-making workshop takes about 2 hours and is fun for young and old. Cocoa Forest has welcomed local Israelis, families, and businesses alike to enjoy the delightful feeling of accomplishment by making their chocolates!
The Cocoa Forest team loves meeting Lev Haolam members visiting the Holy Land and inviting them to join one of the workshops. It is the perfect air-conditioned activity for the whole family during the hot summer. And it's always special to meet producers whose unique Israeli products have been featured in surprise boxes!
In addition to the excitement of making chocolate, it is rewarding to see the small factory that produces such incredibly delicious chocolates!

Lev Haolam has played a significant role in the growth of Cocoa Forest.

When Yaara established her business, it relied on word-of-mouth recommendations in Jerusalem. Lev Haolam helped introduce her to a worldwide community of people who love Israel and love her chocolates!
Yaara told us, "I love Lev Haolam! You don't just look at the business side of things. You care about how businesses are trying to change the world."
During the COVID lockdown, Yaara's business was at risk of collapsing. Lev Haolam made a big order for her delicious White Chocolate and Cinnamon bars, which changed everything for Cocoa Forrest. Yaara told us that that big order helped keep her business afloat!
She was overwhelmed with gratitude and love for our Lev Haolam family. She said, "I realized that Lev Haolam subscribers aren't just customers. They are partners in our business. Together, we are making the world a better place!"
Due to the extreme heat in the Summer, we can only ship Yaara’s delicious chocolates six months out of twelve. This makes your support even more meaningful for her!

A subscription with Lev Haolam can bring you closer to the Holy Land than ever before. How?

By delivering the best produce of Israel straight to your living room! With our monthly packages, you can experience a journey across the Holy Land through a variety of products made 100% in Israel, just for you!

We work with hundreds of Israel’s most talented pioneers who produce unique, high-quality products. Whether fine wine from regions with thousands of years of biblical wine-making history, plump Medjool dates that grow in the desert, or an Israel-inspired artwork, behind every product is a pioneer with a story to tell, a family to provide for, and a community in the Biblical heartlands of Judea and Samaria to which their small business makes a significant contribution.

Alongside the products is a magazine filled with fascinating Israeli content and in-depth interviews with the pioneers themselves. As you get to know their names and faces, you will experience a closer bond with the pioneers whose products are their token of deep appreciation and gratitude for your vital support of their small businesses!