This wasn’t supposed to work.
If you asked a chocolatier whether what I was planning to do made any sense, they would tell you that I was crazy. I know because I asked, and they did.
A skilled chocolatier can create anything from bonbons to a life-sized sculpture of Benedict Cumberbatch, but believe it or not, one thing chocolatiers don’t create? Chocolate. The physical act of making chocolate belongs to that of a “chocolate maker.” So, in all my years as a chocolatier, not only was I never responsible for actually making chocolate, I barely knew how it was made in the first place.
For something as romantic as chocolate, I always felt that this disconnect left something to be desired. I knew that if I could bring these roles closer together and truly understand what it takes to make great chocolate, I could not only create a product that tastes as good as it looks, I could create a chocolate unlike any you’ve ever experienced.
This is where things started to go off the rails.
My apartment became a makeshift chocolate laboratory. I used whatever tools I could find to get the job done: juicers, modified lentil grinders, an old book shelf…but we won’t get into all of that. After weeks of constant tinkering, I had something that lookedlike chocolate, but tasted horrible.
It wasn’t until I began focusing on the cacao itself that I finally realized how I was going to make great chocolate. I discovered that, much like the grapes used to create a fine wine, cacao tells a story. The cacao beans from Madagascar taste acidic and fruity, while the beans from the Dominican Republic are woody with tobacco notes. These subtle nuances are traditionally considered “defects” among the big chocolate companies, and are typically blended together to create a reproducible “house blend.” The cacao and the farmers that grow it are an integral part of the process, and neither was getting the respect they deserved.
Good choices, make great chocolate.
Many would say that making your own chocolate is impractical and difficult. Making a chocolate that embraces the “defects” and pays respect to its origins, recognizes its farmers for the skilled craftsmen they are (by paying up to four times the current market price for the finest quality cacao, and empowering them to reinvest in their business and community), is unwilling to sacrifice creativity for profit, embraces and defies tradition, and is equally fueled by science and relentless curiosity? You’re right, it iscrazy.
Welcome to 5150 Chocolate Co. Crazy good chocolate.