Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker: DAR Chocolate

Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker: DAR Chocolate

Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker Location: Denver, CO
Chocolate Maker Name(s): Joel Dar, Gila Kaplan-Dar, Sima Amsalem
Date Established: May 2016 
Ingredients Used: 3 - Cacao Beans, Cacao Butter, Organic Cane Sugar or Coconut Sugar 
Allergy Information: Made in a facility that also processes dairy, tree nuts and peanuts.


Husband-and-wife team Joel and Gila Dar of DAR Chocolate create chocolate bars that highlight the true and surprising flavors of cacao. Their aim is to keep their recipes simple, clean and healthy, with a range of surprising flavored bars. They both work in their commercial kitchen, making chocolate and creating new recipes. As of late, Gila handles more of the sales and marketing, while Joel takes care of production. The brand's name originates from Joel's last name which has Yemen origins: Dar in Arabic means "house"; in Hebrew, it means "to live"; in Polish, it means "gift"; and in Spanish, it means "to give". 

After leaving their country of origin (Israel), Joel and Gila were swept into an unexpected turn of events which led them to Costa Rica, where they lived and learned chocolate for 1.5 years. Introduced to the cacao fruit for the first time, they were fascinated with the ancient and mysterious bean. It opened the door for them to embark on a new passion and work. They moved to Denver in the spring of 2016 and started DAR Chocolate.

Joel, formerly a film producer, and Gila, a visual artist and movement geek, merged their talents to create a full chocolate experience and love to explore chocolate's culinary potential. At their chocolate events, they offer pure chocolate treats such as savory spreads, exotic chocolate drinks and a 2-ingredient vegan mousse. To them, "chocolate, with the right ingredients, can be a guilt-free pleasure".

The cacao beans they use are ethically traded and organically grown. They source their beans from 2 fair-trade, sustainability conscious cacao importers: Meridien and Uncommon Cacao. After performing a cutting test to discern fermentation quality, they sort, roast, winnow, grind, conch, temper and pack the chocolate. To them, it was the cacao beans that chose them, not the other way around because the artistry of making chocolate from the bean felt like a natural continuation to their previous careers in visual art.

On a mission to make art more accessible to all and in support of artists and the arts, DAR Chocolate's packaging features artwork by different artists of different backgrounds. It’s like a rotating exhibit on chocolate! Museum grade prints from their collection can be purchased through the website, with all proceeds going to the artists. You can win a free print If you get lucky with a Golden Ticket inside your bar :)