Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker: Loon Chocolate
Chocolate Makers: Scott Watson and Lydia Studier-Tarzia
Website: Loon Chocolate
Date Established: May 2018
Ingredients Used: 3 - Organic Cacao Bean, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter
Current Chocolate Production Output: About 800-1000 bars a month
Allergen Information: Processed in a factory that also processes nuts and dairy
Loon Chocolate’s journey for the last two and a half years has been a wild one, to say the least. It all started by chance when Scott Watson, owner of Loon Chocolate, was browsing through Netflix and came across a documentary that looked interesting and peaked his interest. He is a self-proclaimed foodie and loves diving into the backstories of things he enjoys most. The documentary was about a small coffeehouse somewhere in Southeast Asia that had a unique way of making coffee. The entire process was so detailed that it captivated Scott. He was instantly hooked when the coffeehouse explained how it also makes its own chocolate on-site.
Scott's internal gears started spinning and got him thinking. "How is chocolate made? What makes good chocolate, well…good? Who else is making craft chocolate, from bean to bar, in the US? Where can I get my hands on some?" A whole new world began to unfurl right before his eyes and a passion was ignited. Scott decided to try making chocolate from scratch.
Scott started experimenting with small batches after investing in some specialized equipment. The process was simple but demanded the utmost precision and care. He was hooked. He started reading and watching everything he could get his hands on to master the process of creating his own organic bean-to-bar chocolate bars. He studied the vocabulary and listened to the wisdom of John Nanci of Chocolate Alchemy fame, whom he nicknamed “The Godfather of Craft Chocolate”, in a nod to John’s wealth of information on craft chocolate.
Scott’s first batch was both a success and a disappointment. It had rich chocolate notes and was well tempered but the grind size was an issue. The texture was gritty and the sugar wasn’t properly broken down. Over time, after months of experimentation, he got the hang of things. The process finally allowed for Scott’s creativity and personal touches to be imprinted on the chocolate bars.
The craft chocolate movement reminded Scott of the way craft beer first hit the scene in the mid-90s. As the head brewer for a small, local brewery around the same era, he sees the parallels between both crafts and how the public gravitated towards them because of the quality and care used to produce them. He would often hear, “I don’t like dark beer but this is good!”. Chocolate also frequently receives the same response.
In March 2018, Loon Chocolate was born. Scott decided he needed to become a part of the chocolate-making community. His idea of creating high-quality chocolate through the shared dedication of the craft is what fuels his creations. He even got a mascot, a rescue puppy who is not only cute, but also serves as comic relief after some brutal 18-hour days!