Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker: Cru Chocolate

Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker: Cru Chocolate

Chocolate Maker Location: Roseville, California
Website: Cru Chocolate
Date Established: August 2016
Ingredients Used: 2 - Cacao Beans, Organic Cane Sugar
Allergy Information: Made in our Home Kitchen and made in machines that are only used for nut-free, soy-free and dairy-free chocolate

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 the Latin American and Caribbean School of Chocolate in Havana, Cuba, where she was inspired by the ingenuity and resilience of the Cuban culture. After the trip, she decided to start a business with her life partner Eddie Houston and establish Cru Chocolate. 

In 2016, they created a cottage food business which allowed them to make chocolate out of their home. This gives them the flexibility to be entrepreneurs with minimal overhead, and with the enrichment of time to craft their lives around their kids, their family and friends in Central America, their local community events and of course, time to enjoy the beautiful trails around the American River in Northern California.

Chocolate allows them to redefine their own vision of success and to inspire others to live a fulfilled and simple life that is enriched by community and meaningful relationships. Cru Chocolate’s single-origin bars are made using only two ingredients and are made only with cacao from Central America and the Caribbean where chocolate was invented. 

All the chocolate packaging is printed locally – 20 miles from their home – on recycled and compostable paper, with plant-based inks, and under the highest environmental regulations of the State of California. This guarantees that chocolate lovers can enjoy Cru Chocolate’s chocolate not only because it tastes great, but also knowing that they are supporting a business that is creating a positive impact and is willing to do something more than business as usual.