Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker: Nibble Chocolate
Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker Location: San Diego, California
Website: Nibble Chocolate
Date Established: December 2013
Ingredients Used: 2 - Organic Cocoa Beans, Organic Cane Sugar (Certified)
Allergy Information: Chocolate is made in a facility that also processes nuts
Nibble Chocolate was started by David Mejia and Sandra Bedoya, both originally from Colombia, for a simple reason – to show chocolate lovers that chocolate IS healthy, as long as it contains mostly cocoa. They also started the company to enhance and maintain the natural uniqueness of cocoa beans from each particular origin.
The Nibble Chocolate story began when David and Sandra became more conscious about their food and became obsessed with becoming healthier. During this process, they realized how hard it was to find real chocolate, but it wasn’t until they moved to San Diego that they started their research, initially through Google and YouTube. They watched and read just about everything they could find on the chocolate-making process and chocolate confections. They obtained certifications from Ecole Chocolat to become professional chocolatiers and chocolate makers. Chocolate became their new obsession as they learned more and more about how healthy it is, how to make it, how amazing the flavors of quality beans are, how much these flavors differed from one country to another and finally, how similar it is to wine (David had 11 years of experience in the wine business). They were in love!
David visited a farm in the Dominican Republic to become familiar with the whole chocolate-making process. During the same visit, they purchased cocoa beans in very small bags, both low-quality and high-quality beans so that they could make comparisons. They did several tastings of the beans and the chocolate at every stage of the process. They bought a small machine and started tasting out different ways of doing it: 2 days, 4 days, with lecithin, with vanilla, with cocoa butter, with nothing... etc. Sandra said, “Some came out ok, some came out horrible. After a lot of trials and errors, we realized that the best flavors came from the ones that had only sugar....this worked out great for us because we wanted our chocolate to be healthy, real and simple, since this is something that is very important in our lifestyle.”
We asked them what was the hardest part in chocolate making and here’s what they had to say, as conveyed by Sandra: “The hardest part was definitely making the winnower. David researched on the mechanics of it but the success was a result of mostly patience and trying different things. Tempering became more of an issue when we started making bigger batches. Initially, we were mostly tabling and that worked out fine with the size of our batches. When we got our tempering machines, it was very challenging. It was very frustrating to temper for three days and not get one good bar from that. This also was trial and error and playing with the combination of temperatures until we finally got it right. But we did invest a lot of time on figuring this one out, specially because our chocolate is harder to handle because it only has two ingredients. Coming up with the final recipes was also challenging but also a very fun and rewarding process. We were very excited when we realized we were finally making good chocolate.”
We also asked why they decided on Bean to Bar. Sandra explained, “When we changed our diet, we became very controlling of our food. Most of what we eat we make ourselves knowing exactly where the ingredients came from. When researching about chocolate and finding this amazing Bean to Bar movement, we were hooked. We knew that there weren't many options out there for healthier and handcrafted chocolate, and we knew that chocolate already had a bad rep, so unfair. We loved the fact that we would be able to control the process from beginning till the end and we would have the chance to offer a high-quality product. Additionally, the single-origin beans were very exciting to us since David had been in the wine industry for so many years, so the fact that all the beans tasted so different from one region to another was the cherry on top.”