Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker: Altus Chocolates
Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
Website: Altus Chocolates
Date Established: August 2012
Ingredients Used: 3 - Organic Cocoa Beans, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Pure Cane Sugar
Allergy Information: Made in a facility that uses nuts
Altus Chocolate first began as a journey of love and life with a young couple, Carl & Mary. Searching for a love-enriching marital hobby, Mary stumbled upon the movie ‘Chocolat’ at a girls’ night out. Inspired by the whimsical film and the idea of making chocolate in small batches from the cocoa bean, she proposed the idea to Carl, who was instantly intrigued with the idea of craft chocolate making.
After purchasing a Mexican molcajete, a large granite mortar & pestle, they hand ground their first batch of chocolate with a pound of raw cacao beans. After carefully roasting the beans in their home oven, the couple sat outside their home cracking the beans with their fingers to remove the thin paper husk from the bean, like the ancient Aztec’s & Olemecs did centuries before them. Curious neighbors walking by became intrigued with the couple’s pursuit requesting, of course, to taste the finished product!
Grinding took somewhere between 16-20 hours taking turns (and days) to get the cacao and sugar into a somewhat smooth chocolately substance. (Sheer exhaustion blocks out their ability to remember exactly how long it took).
Eager to taste the results, they were amazed by the delicate flavors and lack of bitterness of their first batch of chocolate. Bewildered, they set out on a passionate pursuit to learn about high-grade, single origin cacao and discovered an incredible, much lost, world of high-grade cacao and complex flavors dependent on the terroir, or soil and growing conditions! Enthusiastic friends and family began requesting (perhaps demanding) more and more of their chocolate. In 2012, Carl & Mary launched Altus Chocolate to share their passion for exceptional chocolates with others and were met with overwhelming community support.
The factory and lounge, run by the couple, is a fulfillment of their hobby inspiration, being themed after ‘Chocolat’ with a European chocolate house flair, cozy seating, deep community involvement, and a commitment to promoting the welfare of others through the shop. It is a place for wonder, exploration, and exceptional indulgent delights.