Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker: Brasstown Chocolate
Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Website: Brasstown Chocolate
Date Established: 2011
Ingredients Used: 3 - Cacao Beans, Raw Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter
Allergen Information: Processed in an allergy-free factory
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 other chocolate makers. He sources for top quality ingredients and take his time with each batch. Each batch of chocolate is aged for various periods depending on bean type. Through much experimentation, he found a unique roasting method that other bean-to-bar makers do not use. This method is designed to bring out more tasting notes. In addition, once the beans are winnowed by machine, he goes through the batch by hand to remove almost the entire remaining husks. It takes time but he does not mind doing so because he understands the outcome of his hard work. He monitors each batch during the grinding process, taking temperature measurements throughout the process and making adjustments to the grinding and conching in order to bring out the flavors he is trying to produce.
Not only does Rom want to make the best chocolate, it is important to him that the farmers that grow the cacao he uses are treated fairly and are receiving a more than decent wage for their hard work. It’s Chocoalte are big supporters of efforts to preserve the heirloom cacao and they want to make sure that cacao farms are sustainable in their approach.