How Ben Rasmussen chocolate maker of Potomac Chocolate makes award winning chocolate with a full-time job and four kids at home
Ben Rasmussen, a chocolate maker from Potomac Chocolate is no ordinary man. By day, he is a family man with 4 kids and works as a Linux Systems Administrator. By night and weekends, he is a devoted chocolate maker. He was introduced to craft chocolates in 2009 by his brother who had attended a chocolate class and organized a chocolate tasting for him. Despite being skeptical (growing up and loving big name popular chocolate bars and NOT a fan of dark chocolate), he gave it a try. He admitted he was completely blown away! Bar after chocolate bar continuously blew his mind as he tasted the difference in their flavor profiles – spices, various fruits, earthy notes, tobacco and nuttiness.
He then fell in love and became obsessed with learning more about chocolate through tasting. It wasn’t until a friend suggested a silly idea to him to try making his own chocolate that was Potomac was born. They bought a used melanger, some beans and started messing around in the kitchen. To keep up with demand these days, he’s upgraded his equipment, built several pieces of equipment and continues to modify his process. It is still a learning process for him, one that he doesn’t mind doing.
“I really, really enjoy figuring out how to improve my chocolate. I am constantly researching chocolate, reading (and re-reading) everything I can find on cacao, chocolate and the chocolate-making process, tweaking my process and trying new processes to improve my chocolate. Sometimes, this is through learning more about chocolate itself, and how I can change my process to take better advantage of the equipment I currently have. Sometimes, this is through acquiring or building a new piece of equipment” says Ben.
Ben adds, “There's so much that I love about making craft chocolate that I'm not sure I have one favorite part. I enjoy the whole process – from bean to bar (except maybe sorting the beans). I love roasting the beans and watching (and smelling!) the nibs being transformed into chocolate liquor by the melanger.”
Photo credit: Good Food Awards