Committed to Excellence
In the still " sizzling hot" and ever-expanding chocolate bar market, micro-manufactured bars are all the rage — bars made "from scratch" by small artisan manufacturers, often from directly sourced cacao beans, and often accompanied by deep relationships with farmers and the growing communities. Mainly dark, high percentage and single origin, many of these micro manufactured bars are selling in the $6-10.00 range for a 2 to 3 oz bar. Surprisingly, this actually may be a bargain price, when one considers all the capital costs of starting a chocolate-making business, in many cases including custom equipment, in addition to the extraordinary labor and brutally long hours involved in creating and mastering formulas.
Currently, there are about 20 bean-to-bar guys (HELLOOOHHHHH WOMEN, HELP ME OUT HERE!!!) actually making chocolate the old-fashioned way — spilling the beans out of big burlap sacks, roasting, grinding, conching, blending, melting/tempering, molding, cooling, (and not necessarily in this order (eg. some chocolate makers blend before they roast; some skip conching altogether, etc.) The dedicated cast of micro-manufacturers includes a couple ex-lawyers, an ex-engineer, and even an ex-glassblower among the more colorful, passionate and highly committed characters. While their personalities vary as wildly as their chocolates, they have one common trait — each is fastidiously determined to unlock the sacred mysteries of the cocoa bean, carefully teasing out the nuances of flavor with each new batch.