We make all of our chocolate and confections from scratch using the finest ingredients we can find. We have control of every step in our processes to guarantee the best flavors, and to preserve and protect the delicate nutrients.
We only buy cacao beans that meet our strict criteria. First and foremost is taste. Cacao beans vary considerably in flavor and quality. We only use fine flavored beans which are less than 5% of the global cacao bean production.
They also have to be certified organic and ethically sourced. The beans we purchase exceed Fairtrade standards by quite a bit.
As an example, one of our favorite chocolates is from Kokoa Kamili in Tanzania. It is a co-op in a pristine area that was started a few years ago. They built a fermentary and drying area, and they buy wet beans from over 3,500 local small farmers. The co-op pays them an excellent price, well above Fairtrade’s rate; and it has made a huge difference in the lives of the farmers. The cacao is a lot better too because of the greatly improved fermentation; and the farmers take better care of the trees since they are bringing in more money. The co-op also teaches the farmers the best methods for growing and supplies them with seedlings.
Another favorite source is Maya Mountain in Belize with a similar model. There’s a lot of transparency and the farms are visited regularly to check on conditions. We definitely want to support these people.
When the cacao beans arrive at our facility, they have been carefully fermented and sun dried. Fermentation must be done immediately upon opening the pods. It is what develops the hundreds of flavor precursors.
First, we hand sort all the beans to remove any substandard beans, sticks or stones.
Then we are ready to roast; and this is where the magic happens. We do a gentle low temperature roast that has been shown to preserve polyphenols, antioxidants and other nutrients. The roast is probably the most important part of chocolate making. It can take a lot of experimentation to find the perfect roast profile that brings out the flavors you want in your chocolate. A few minutes too long or too short, too hot or too cool can completely change the flavors, and possibly bring out undesirable ones. Each bean origin needs its own signature profile.
The roasted beans are then cracked and winnowed to remove their husks. The nibs are refined in a big stone grinder for 48-72 hours until the right particle size and flavor has been achieved. After that the chocolate is conched, aged, and then tempered and made into bars.
Nuts are truly a guilt free snack. It’s kind of amazing that every study we’ve read shows strong health benefits from eating nuts. We are proud of the quality of the nuts we source, and it took us a while to find just the right nuts to complement our chocolate perfectly.
We make freshly ground almond and cashew butters for our truffle bars. We grind the nuts at a very low temperature until incredibly smooth and creamy. The almond and cashew butters are raw for a much better flavor profile.
The pistachio nuts and the chopped nuts are ever so lightly roasted at a very low temperature which preserves the delicate fats. All of our nuts are certified organic.
Organic Evaporated Coconut Palm Nectar – Coconut Sugar
Coconut sugar is made from the sweet nectar of coconut tree flowers. It has a 6,000 year history in east Asian medicine and cuisine. According to the UN Food and Agriculture organization, coconut sugar is the most sustainable sweetener in the world.
Coconut palms are an ecologically beneficial tree because they require very little water and produce 50-75% more sugar per acre than cane sugar. Coconut palm nectar can be collected from the blossoms without harming the tree for over 70 years. They can grow in severely depleted soil; and these palms have been shown to improve soil structure, increase fertility, and regenerate ecosystems.
Like the chocolate we source, our coconut sugar is sustainably grown by small farm cooperatives that have improved the lives of the farmers.
We like coconut sugar because it tastes good, goes very well with chocolate and is not overpowering. It is a whole food that is very minimally processed. It still retains polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The nectar is collected from the blossoms and slowly heated to evaporate the water.
It is also a low glycemic food (only 35) meaning it doesn’t spike your blood sugar. We’ve tested people after eating maple syrup, honey, and cane sugar (an un-scientific small study); and they all caused spikes in blood sugar, some of them pretty large. Eating our chocolate and truffle bars does not cause sugar rushes like most people experience from other sugars, which makes eating them a much more pleasant experience.