Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker: Ethereal Confections
Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker Location: Woodstock, IL
Website: Ethereal Confections
Date Established: January 2011
Ingredients Used: 3 - Organic Cacao Beans, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Sugar
Allergy Information: Chocolate is made on shared equipment with peanuts and tree nuts
Ethereal Confections is a small business in Woodstock, Illinois, that is centered on reconnecting people with food. Owners Mary and Sara Miller labor over each individual detail and constantly strive to improve their craft. They envision and then taste, tweak and package everything by hand – no big machines or industrial factories for them. They are committed to using organic ingredients and creating amazing flavors without using any preservatives.
The joy of creating inspires both Mary and Sara. Their customers inspire them plenty. They create everything they serve from scratch so that they can perfect and hone their recipes into something people will love. From their bean-to-bar chocolate to gluten-free pastries and desserts, all the way to the syrups they put into their lattes, everything is created with verve. They have surrounded themselves with people in their business who love their creations as much as they do. The support of their customers, whether in Woodstock or across the country, is probably their biggest inspiration. They create for others, to bring people an amazing experience and bring food to them in a quality and atmosphere that is almost forgotten. The support and feedback from everyone they have encountered has been overwhelmingly uplifting. When customers say, "I never knew dark chocolate could be so smooth and delicious!", it fuels them to create more.
Ethereal Confections has a philosophy about the central place food should have in people's lives and bringing people together through food. This philosophy drives Mary and Sara and they do not cut corners. They do things because they are hard, because no one else wants to do them that way. Their methods aren’t also the fastest or the cheapest, but they make everything shine with taste and creativity. They take chocolate back to a period when people didn't move quite so quickly and had the time to savor life – when food itself was an experience.
We asked Mary and Sara how they got into chocolate making and here's what they said:
"Chocolate is something that gets into you and never goes away once you are bitten. It might start with some small nibble in your youth or perhaps in a restaurant that puts an amazing twist on a savory dish at some point along your journey. Then, you suddenly have a unquenchable desire to spend all your time in the cool and the dark, never too warm or too bright, laboring over your craft. You disappear for months at a time and your friends and family wonder what's come over you. Eventually, you invite them into your lair and they become converted as well.
It's at this point you discover you are... a chocolate maker.
At least that's the way it happened for us. First a truffle, then bars, then making our own chocolate. We each had an amazing experience along the way and then the world of chocolate opened up to us. The more we worked at it, the more control we wanted to have and so making chocolate from the bean was a natural extension of that.
We love to find interesting fusions of flavors and use that to tell a multi-note story in chocolate. Sometimes, the chocolate alone can be a whole world and sometimes we slip in other flavors that excite or complement what naturally comes out in the chocolate.
We source from regions where we can forge an authentic and mutually beneficial relationship, and that means primarily Central and South America, though we sometimes experiment.
One thing that you can count on from us is that you will never be the same after tasting our chocolate."