Month: April 2009

Bean to Bar, not your average chocolate

The glory days of commercial kings like Hershey’s and Nestle are gone. There’s a new kid in town and it’s a specially crafted artisan style chocolate made by a small batch of producers known as “bean to bar.”

These bean to bar producers control every step of the chocolate making process ensuring the best quality and very best taste.  Where milk chocolate and other mass produced dark chocolates may have extra sugar or artificial ingredients added to create ‘taste,’ the bean to bar chocolatiers enhance the flavor of their product simply by letting the natural flavor notes shine through.

The process begins with sourcing the finest cacao beans (and usually of single plantation origin) which are then carefully roasted, winnowed, ground, refined, conched, tempered, and molded.  Granted, they tend to be a bit more expensive than your average candy bar. But once you’ve tried these pieces of heaven you’ll see it’s worth it, not to mention the higher cacao % which means it’s ‘healthy’ chocolate (hello antioxidants!)

At this time there are around 20 true bean to bar makers, so next time you have a chocolate craving go for one of the producers listed below and rest easy knowing you are supporting a bean to bar chocolatier. 

US: Askinosie, Amaro, Guiltand, Theo, Taza and Rogue*

French: Bonnat, Pralus, or Michel Cluizel

Italian: Domoi, Amedei, Venchi

Spanish: Chocovic

Venezuelan: EC Rey

*the Rogue 70% Chocolate bar is a new addition to our store. These delectable bars have flavor notes like citrus, rum raisin, and toast for the Sambirano bar (a personal favorite); coffee, blood orange, and nuts for the Rio Caribe (equally delicious); and licorice, burnt orange, and cherry for the Hispaniola (and all three bars have the same ingredients: cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, and tahitian vanilla).