The first handcrafted bean to bar chocolate maker in Delaware, Double Spiral Chocolate, tells their story
Double Spiral Chocolate is the first handcrafted bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Delaware, located in the arts and crafts community of The Ardens.
Chocolate makers Stuart and Mhairi Craig are originally from Scotland. Possessing a doctorate in biochemistry from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Stuart is a scientist at DuPont Nutrition & Health working on the nutritional benefits of food ingredients. During his career, he has published research on dietary fiber and micronutrients. A registered nurse with a BA in Nursing Studies from Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh, Mhairi practices her profession in Delaware.
Being Scottish, Mhairi and Stuart are familiar with the ancient Celtic double spiral that has similarities with the Taoist Yin and Yang concepts. Two opposing spirals emerge from a single line to signify how opposite components can find balance. The double spiral was, therefore, a perfect fit to symbolize their philosophy:
- Balance taste and nutrition using wholesome ingredients that are minimally processed
- Select single-origin cacao for distinctive flavors and inspiring stories
- Make sustainable choices with positive environmental and global development impact
Double Spiral Chocolate began from a simple question: Can dark chocolate be made with unrefined sugar?
In the summer of 2014, Stuart and Mhairi were making plans to relocate from New York to Delaware for Stuart’s job. The approaching move spurred a discussion of whether to create a shared hobby/small-business around their keen interest in the diet-health relationship. Mhairi happened to be making a dark chocolate from a simple recipe and Stuart was researching the micronutrients in whole foods such as unrefined sugars. This coalesced into the above question, and the rest is history! They moved to Ardentown, DE, in 2015, constructed a commercial kitchen above their garage, and formed Double Spiral Chocolate in August 2016.
Their micro batch dark chocolate is crafted from only 2 organic, ethically sourced ingredients: cacao (at least 70%) and unrefined whole cane sugar. No additional cocoa butter, lecithin or other fillers that might dilute the nutritional value are used.
Their cacao beans originate from small organic farms where growers can earn a fair profit and develop sustainable practices. Each origin brings unique flavor characteristics based on bean genetics, growing conditions, and post-harvest fermentation. They currently source beans mainly from Belize (Maya Mountain), Dominican Republic (Oko Caribe), Guatemala (Cacao Verapaz), Haiti (Pisa), and Tanzania (Kokoa Kamili). Cacao beans are a rich source of polyphenol antioxidants such as flavanols (e.g. catechin and epicatechin) and methylxanthines (e.g. theobromine). They are also high in minerals (manganese, copper, iron, magnesium) and rich in dietary fiber and protein. Dark chocolate with a high cacao content is associated with providing many health benefits including those related to blood pressure, heart health, brain health, cancer and gut microbiome.
Their unrefined whole cane sugar is an organic, fair trade, traditional raw sugar obtained by evaporating water from sugarcane juice. Importantly, there is no centrifugation step to remove the nutrient rich molasses. This Non-Centrifugal Sugar (NCS) is produced in sugarcane growing regions around the world, and known by many different names such as sucanat, rapadura, panela, jaggery, gur, kokuto or muscovado. These have superior nutrient content (e.g. minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus) compared to other brown sugars (such as turbinado, demerara or refined sugars mixed with molasses). In addition, this unrefined whole cane sugar has a unique caramel flavor that complements cacao perfectly.
Examples of sustainable choices include hosting their webpage using “The cleanest hosting around” (GreenGeeks), packaging bars in paper made from unbleached sugar cane bagasse fiber (TreeZero Brown Bear) and business cards that are 100%-recycled FSC-certified chipboard, made from 85% post-consumer and 15% post-industrial recycled materials (Guided).
With a focus on health and nutrition, Double Spiral Chocolate is looking to the future by pushing the boundaries of what is possible with dark chocolate. For example, they have a 2-ingredient bar made from cacao beans sweetened with dates. They also recently launched a line of 3-ingredient bars by adding one whole food ingredient such as mint leaves, raspberry, banana, ginger and cardamom. This process requires a considerable amount of product development to deliver a unique chocolate experience with maximum nutrition and optimal taste, but creating new experiences is half the fun for Stuart and Mhairi.