Chocolate Maker Location: Portland, Oregon
Website: Mana Chocolate
Date Established: 2010
Ingredients Used: 2 - Cocoa Beans, Sugar
Allergy Information: Produced in a kitchen that uses tree nuts
About the Chocolate Maker:
Mana Chocolate was founded in 2010 when chocolate maker Holly Hukill decided to take the leap and follow her dreams. A self-taught chocolate maker, Holly meticulously crafts her chocolate in a five-day process from bean to bar. Chocolate making is as much art as it is science, and Holly spends time with each origin as she works to highlight the subtle nuances of the cocoa. She then lovingly handcrafts her bars in small batches using just two ingredients – cocoa beans and sugar. The result is a wonderfully complex chocolate with uninhibited flavor.
As a child, Holly was under the assumption that all chocolate tasted like a heaping spoonful of sugar. It wasn't until adulthood that Holly tasted real chocolate that was dark and fruity, and bursting with flavor. Exactly what love must taste like. From then on, all childhood chocolate was banished and a true love affair began. Living in Portland, OR, a food lover's paradise, Holly was able to easily make her way through a variety of craft chocolate. In doing so, a dream was born as Holly and a friend shared a bar of Domori and pondered how chocolate was made.
Curious, they tracked down a friend who was making it herself and who offered to show them the process. Working with the chocolate awoke something in Holly, and she realized she wanted more. Until then, she had been working out of her home maintaining a small sewing business while taking care of her two kids. Walking away from one dream and into another was bittersweet, but Holly followed her heart. With passion in one hand and drive in the other, she started a small-batch chocolate-making venture out of her home kitchen.
Chocolate has been a faithful teacher of so many things, and continues to reveal its mysteries. Holly has been making chocolate for 4½ years now, and remains in love with the process. She recently moved into a commercial kitchen in Portland, continuing to live her dream. Her favorite part of chocolate making is working with new origins – playing and experimenting with the beans to find and highlight the true flavor of the cocoa. It's a magical process. One that involves not only science, but artistry and heart. Finding her true calling took quite a few years with bumps and turns (with a few potholes here and there), but doing what she loves and being able to share that with the world makes Holly one happy chocolate maker.