Cococlectic: A Craft Bean-to-Bar Club

Experience American made
craft bean to bar chocolates
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William Marx of Wm Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on February 06, 2020. 1 Comment

We interviewed William Marx of Wm Chocolate and this was his story to us:

 

“Wm. Chocolate began in early 2015 in my home kitchen, where my passion for making nutritious, ethically sourced, delicious food from scratch spilled over into chocolate. Simply put, I couldn’t find a chocolate on the market that met my standards, so I decided to make it myself – all the way from raw cacao bean to the finished chocolate bar.

  

From the start, I knew I wanted chocolate that is free from additives, fillers, and refined sweeteners. But once I started making it, I was struck by the huge range of flavors across different cacao origins. My mission expanded beyond just nutrition, to making and sharing chocolate that celebrated these diverse flavors.

  

It took about 6 months, dozens of batches and origins, and lots of problem-solving to pin down a...

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Stone Grindz Chocolate, a small-batch chocolate company in the heart of the southwest desert in Arizona

Posted by Coleen L on January 03, 2020. 0 Comments

Kasey grew up in North Carolina and Steven was born in Boulder, CO, both of their life paths brought them to Scottsdale, AZ. Both wanting to find their true passion in life, they couldn't quite settle on a specific major in school and looked to do something independent of that. 

In 2012, Kasey and Steven stumbled upon craft chocolate and the chocolate-making process, they were both instantly hooked. They purchased a stone grinder and started experimenting with all sorts of different cacao beans from different origins and roasting profiles; from hot American style roasts to low temperature European style roasts in all different time frames. They tried out their first farmers market with a crude representation of single origin chocolate and sold out completely. This told them that their community was seeking a craft dark chocolate. Both of them are creators and foodies, and had always had big...
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Creativity is what sets Rom Still of Brasstown Chocolate apart from other artisan chocolate makers.

Posted by Coleen L on December 09, 2019. 0 Comments

Creativity is what sets Rom Still of Brasstown Chocolate apart from other artisan chocolate makers. He is indeed a man of art and music. By day, he works in education and by night, he pushes the chocolate envelop and go beyond just following recipes. He started making chocolate in 2010 as a hobby and out of curiosity. He was interested in how things were made, particularly chocolate and thus, started making small-batch chocolates.

 

When Rom first started making chocolate, he did not have what other chocolate makers had – a melanger or a tempering machine. He purchased a tempering stone and scrapers, and tempered the chocolate the old-fashioned way until he was able to get some proper equipment. After a while he realized he needed a grinder to make the chocolate so he purchased several melangers and began It’s Chocolate.

 

His natural creativity is a competitive advantage over...

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Ishan Tigunait and Jeff Abella of Moka Origins from Honesdale, Pennsylvania

Posted by Coleen L on November 12, 2019. 1 Comment

 

Ishan Tigunait and Jeff Abella, the chocolate maker, moved to Cameroon Africa in 2007, to lead sustainable farming and community development projects for a not-for-profit organization. Upon invitation by local communities, they ended up expanding these projects into other countries throughout Africa, India, and Central Mexico. They later partnered up in 2015 to launch Moka Origins farm in Cameroon where they work with farmers to grow cacao, harvest beans, and exchange knowledge. Nestled deep in the Northwest Region of Cameroon, their cacao, plantain, and tropical tree farm is a paradise on earth. This particular region is cut off from running water, electricity and paved roads, so they had to build everything from the ground up—literally! They began by creating infrastructure essential for farm operations such as solar electric system, tree nursery, well, river irrigation system, and an internal road network. Since...

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Charles Burke of BOHO Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on October 07, 2019. 0 Comments

Charles Burke started his journey selling chocolates and confections from a small shop in New England over 30 years ago.

 

He opened his first retail chocolate store in Amherst, Massachusetts, at the age of 24. The following year, he opened a second store in Massachusetts and then a third in Burlington, Vermont.

 

Charles is no stranger to startups and new ventures. He has an MBA in management with a focus on entrepreneurial thinking. He has handled projects for the music and entertainment industry, working for companies such as MTV, DreamWorks, ESPN and The History Channel. He is also a licensed contractor and can sometimes be found designing and building luxury homes, and has also previously volunteered as director for several non-profit organizations that raise funds for social causes.

His inspiration for the transition to making craft chocolate came from...

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Karla McNeil-Rueda and Eddie Houston of Cru Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on September 04, 2019. 0 Comments

Cru Chocolate is the dream of Karla McNeil-Rueda and Eddie Houston who make delicious and beautiful chocolate in their home in Northern California.

Karla grew up in Honduras among family members who farmed coffee and sugarcane. “I grew up thinking of farming as a very noble and honorable thing to do,” she says. “It was a very respected vocation.” This foundational principle grounds her ethical methods when sourcing for cacao. 

She sees cacao farmers as partners, not mere suppliers, and makes a point of working with women in Central America whom Karla teaches how to make chocolate and how to open businesses that can create extra income to help them support themselves and their families.

It was Karla’s early experiences in the rural areas of Honduras that have shaped her career and life to pursue her love for freedom, authenticity and flavor. These values have taken her to study cacao technology at...
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Santa Cruz's Stephen Beaumier of White Label Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on June 08, 2019. 0 Comments

Stephen Beaumier of White Label Chocolate loves food, and came to love and appreciate cacao. Hailing from the hospitality industry, he found cacao to be the most challenging ingredient he has ever used. Stephen has no formal training; just an unending quest for unattainable perfection through repetition and dedication to his craft. He taught himself, through trial and error, how to make chocolate. He would constantly reach out to his culinary community for feedback.

 

The first moment that he visited an origin in the jungles of Guatemala near Coban and saw what the cacao farmers had to do to ensure the quality of the cacao is of the highest blew his mind. Watching the men, women and teenagers harvest pods, cracking them for hours and finishing the day humping all the seeds in 150-pound sacks of wet cacao through the jungle to the fermentation beds was an incredible sight for...

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Oliver and Jay Holecek of Primo Botanica Craft Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on May 08, 2019. 0 Comments

Oliver and Jay Holecek of Primo Botanica Craft Chocolate are cousins living on opposite coasts of the US. 

Jay became a certified natural chef at Bauman College in Berkeley, California. As a chef consultant, Jay has an immense amount of knowledge in therapeutic cooking. After purchasing a riverfront property in Costa Rica, Jay began developing strong relationships with Costa Rican cocoa farmers. 



Oliver grew up in a small rural town, 30 minutes south of Troy, New York, called Dormansville. He and his family lived the homesteading life, raising chickens and selling eggs alongside an abundant vegetable garden. In 1996, his mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness that gave her about a year to live. As a result of the diagnosis, his mother had an impetus to show her family the world, so she eventually sold their 5-acre...

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Steve and Andrea Prickett of Eldora Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on April 10, 2019. 0 Comments

Steve and Andrea Prickett started Eldora Chocolate as a way to satisfy Steve’s curiosity and love of chocolate. 


His engineering background in food manufacturing and 32-year career as a financial advisor taught him the discipline and love for beautiful companies, whose practices could be sustainable, and whose process and place of business could be a generous, loving atmosphere where customers and employees alike could enjoy and thrive. These qualities are evident in the building designed by wife Andrea, whose 30-year career was in the design industry. The building design was named “Modern Barn”.


Meanwhile, Steve sharpened his chocolate-making skills by taking classes with Ecole Chocolat, a Canadian firm. He furthered strengthened his experience by being under the tutelage of ChocoSol in Toronto and Mindo Chocolate in Dexter, Michigan. 

Eldora’s ethos is “just use Real Ingredients”. No artificial colors, artificial flavors, lecithin or preservatives...

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Enna Grazier of Enna Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on March 07, 2019. 0 Comments

Enna Chocolate was founded in 2016 after a long fall-down-the-rabbit-hole obsession of learning how to make chocolate by Enna Grazier. Enna's tiny factory is in Epping, New Hampshire, and it focuses on creating small batches of chocolate that emphasize the flavor potential of various cacao origins from around the world. Enna explores the flavors of the cocoa bean and loves introducing customers to the very broad and diverse experience that is offered by fine single-origin chocolate.



We asked Enna about her passion for chocolate making and this is what she had to say: “I love the creative process. To me, creative work is a magical journey, a process of enlightening and expanding our sensory experience. Making chocolate is deeply personal to me, and in this vein, it is an honor to create something that can be experienced in a deeply personal way by others.

“I have...

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