Cococlectic: A Craft Bean-to-Bar Club

delicious & delectable varieties
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Ricardo Trillos of Cao Chocolates

Posted by Coleen Leong on November 05, 2015. 0 Comments

Cao Chocolates was founded in 2009 after owner and chocolate maker Ricardo Trillos had a life-changing event and was laid off from his position as an accountant. He then turned his hobby and sweet obsession of chocolates into a business, and started Cao Chocolates.
 
Ricardo moved to the US from Venezuela in 2004, looking for new opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. Ricardo explained during our interview, "As an accountant by trade, my professional life quickly flourished, and I was soon comfortably settling in my new South Florida home. Meanwhile, my conscience kept reminding me of my lack of personal fulfillment, and not before too long, my yearning and stewing passion for the rich, succulent chocolate of Venezuela sparked my inner chocolatier."
 
After years of loving everything about chocolates, Ricardo's passion turned into more than just a hobby where he purchased books...

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Brian Flick of Pitch Dark Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on October 05, 2015. 0 Comments

Pitch Dark Chocolate is a fine cacao-focused chocolate company based in Portland, OR. Its approach from the beginning has always been to elevate the perception of craft chocolate. It has moved away from simplistic methods of manufacturing to those which provide more control over how they shape the inherent flavor profiles in the cacao they source.

 

Since Pitch Dark Chocolate’s inception, it has focused on connecting more with its cacao suppliers. Its founder Brian Flick lived with cacao farmers in rural Fiji for 3 months while conducting fieldwork for his thesis. And it was upon his return to Portland and after reflecting on over 10 years in the pastry industry that he decided to venture out on his own, and pursue his passion for high quality traceable chocolate. Pitch Dark continues to source cacao from Namau, Fiji, where Brian spent his time, as well as...

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Jennifer Wicks of Burnt Fork Bend Chocolate

Posted by Coleen L on September 02, 2015. 1 Comment

 

 

Inspired by her love for chocolate and a preference for keeping things simple and pure, Jennifer Wicks began experimenting with the art of chocolate making in her home seven years ago. What started as a hobby to satisfy her own chocolate cravings as well as those of her family and friends slowly turned into a business in 2011.

 

Years ago, Jennifer noticed that a lot of the chocolate available on the market had unpronounceable ingredients. She wondered why that was so when real, delicious chocolate is made from the simplest of ingredients. Curiosity and a desire to control the ingredients in the chocolate she was consuming led Jennifer to research how chocolate was made. There was very little information available on the Internet and even less available elsewhere. Determined to learn and figure it out, she bought a Champion Juicer, Santha Spectra 10...

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David Mejia and Sandra Bedoya of Nibble Chocolate

Posted by Coleen Leong on August 05, 2015. 0 Comments

Nibble Chocolate was started by David Mejia and Sandra Bedoya, both originally from Colombia, for a simple reason – to show chocolate lovers that chocolate IS healthy, as long as it contains mostly cocoa. They also started the company to enhance and maintain the natural uniqueness of cocoa beans from each particular origin.

The Nibble Chocolate story began when David and Sandra became more conscious about their food and became obsessed with becoming healthier. During this process, they realized how hard it was to find real chocolate, but it wasn’t until they moved to San Diego that they started their research, initially through Google and YouTube. They watched and read just about everything they could find on the chocolate-making process and chocolate confections. They obtained certifications from Ecole Chocolat to become professional chocolatiers and chocolate makers. Chocolate became their new obsession as they learned more and more...

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The Hello Cocoa Team

Posted by Coleen Leong on July 06, 2015. 0 Comments

When Lauren & Mark Blanco, Preston & Abby Stewart, and Abby & Charles Davidson started Hello Cocoa, they decided they didn’t just want to make chocolate. They wanted to connect people with flavors and cultures from around the world. Through ethical and direct trade, they strive to create relationships with farmer partners and produce excellent chocolate. In their small-batch factory in Fayetteville, Arkansas, they transform chosen beans into handcrafted chocolate bars that allow one to share in the adventure. Charles had the original idea to start a chocolate company, and perfected the bean-to-bar process for a year before Hello Cocoa was formed.  When the Stewarts and the Blancos partnered with the Davidsons, everyone had a piece of the chocolate vision that became Hello Cocoa.

Charles launched the chocolate-making process and inspired the rest of the co-founders to create a quality product. Charles' international interest drove the culinary...

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Mary and Sara Ervin of Ethereal Confections

Posted by Coleen Leong on June 10, 2015. 0 Comments


Ethereal Confections is a small business in Woodstock, Illinois, that is centered on reconnecting people with food. Owners Mary and Sara Ervin labor over each individual detail and constantly strive to improve their craft. They envision and then taste, tweak and package everything by hand – no big machines or industrial factories for them. They are committed to using organic ingredients and creating amazing flavors without using any preservatives.

The joy of creating inspires both Mary and Sara. Their customers inspire them plenty. They create everything they serve from scratch so that they can perfect and hone their recipes into something people will love. From their bean-to-bar chocolate to gluten-free pastries and desserts, all the way to the syrups they put into their lattes, everything is created with verve. They have surrounded themselves with people in their business who love their creations as much as...

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Drew and Nichole Warner

Posted by Coleen Leong on May 12, 2015. 0 Comments

Just Good Chocolate is a small business with big ideas. Owners Drew and Nichole Warner believe in the ideals of social justice and environmental sustainability. They believe that doing business and doing good don't have to be two separate things. They also believe that their ridiculously high standards for quality ingredients result in ridiculously good products. Their passion for making chocolate is guided by these two words: JUST (guided by truth, reason, justice and fairness, and done or made according to principle; equitable; proper) and GOOD (of high quality; excellent, kind, beneficent or friendly, honorable or worthy and healthful, beneficial)
From bean to bar, from roasting to wrapping, every batch of Just Good Chocolate is a true labor of love. "Starting with the world's finest ethically-traded and organic cocoa beans and sugar, Nichole, the chocolate maker, enjoys working...
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Troy Easton of Sublime Chocolate

Posted by Coleen Leong on April 01, 2015. 0 Comments

When we asked Troy Easton of Sublime Chocolate to tell us a bit about them, here is what he had to say:

 

“I have owned a chocolaterie for 7 years now. In my little 771 sq ft shop, we make truffles and bonbons, sipping chocolate, ice cream and espresso-based coffee drinks. At my shop, I would organize chocolate tastings where I taught people about the origins of cacao and chocolate…where it came from, how it was first used and the fact that it was taken from South America to Europe and eventually all over the world. During those tastings, I would also lecture on the chocolate-making process – from “bean to bar”.

 

It took a family medical emergency for me to come to realize how little time we have to accomplish things and that it is easy to go through life and...

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Rick Boosey and Ben Butler of Kyya Chocolate

Posted by Coleen Leong on March 09, 2015. 0 Comments

Kyya Chocolate was born in a converted Mexican restaurant in Elm Springs, Arkansas, where a team of artisans were crafting fine single origin bean-to-bar chocolate. It all started as a result of a trip to Uganda in 2012 when a small team initially took on the challenge of helping an orphanage. As both founders Rick Boosey and Ben Butler have adopted orphans (from China and Ethiopia), engaging in a strategy to help reduce the effects of malnutrition and abject poverty was a no-brainer. The question was how?

 

As the team analyzed all the natural resources Uganda had to offer, cocoa kept coming up. That birthed the thought that a chocolate company might be the vehicle in which the team could provide long-lasting, sustainable help to the poor and vulnerable orphans around the world.

 

After a year of testing and creating over 1,000 batches of chocolate, the team identified...

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Clyo Howard and Beryl Wells Hamilton of Meadowlands Chocolate Company

Posted by Coleen Leong on February 28, 2015. 0 Comments

When we asked Clyo Howard and Beryl Wells Hamilton of Meadowlands Chocolate Company to tell us a bit about them, here’s what they had to say,

 

“Our introduction to fine-quality chocolate came one day in the summer of 2013 while watching a cooking show on television which featured organic chocolate. The owner of the chocolate company was being interviewed. When he said that he started out making chocolate bars in his kitchen, it was like we were hit by a bolt of lightning! We looked at each other and said, "We can do that!"

 

We immediately drove down to the local co-op and bought a few bars of organic chocolate. When we tasted the bars, we said, "Maybe we can do even better. Let's try it!"

 

A few weeks later, after talking late into the night for many nights, and researching everything we could find about making...

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