Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker: Terroir Chocolate

Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker: Terroir Chocolate

Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker Location: Fergus Falls, Minnesota
Website: Terroir Chocolate
Date Established: October 2013
Ingredients Used: 3 - Organic Cocoa Beans, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter
Allergy Information: All Bars are Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Gluten-Free

Terroir (tare-WHAR) Chocolate was founded by Josh and Kristin Mohagen to share with others a connection, appreciation, and adventure through chocolate.

After making it all the way through pastry school and living in France, Kristin thought she knew everything there was to know about chocolate. Nothing could be further from the truth! Her eyes were completely opened in 2013, and a new appreciation and never-ending learning endeavor began.

It all started when Josh and Kristin were on their honeymoon in San Francisco at a chocolate factory tour. They tasted four distinctly different single-origin chocolate pieces and their corresponding citrus, nutty, chocolaty, or fruity flavors. Kristin discovered that chocolate had complexities like that of wine and coffee, the terroir. She was hooked. She walked out of that tour and told Josh that's what she was going to do – she was going to MAKE chocolate.

Armed with curiosity, love of new adventures, attention to detail and Josh's great communication skills as well as his constant encouragement, the couple began their chocolate factory in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

This incredible learning adventure continues with each batch Kristin and Josh make, and every time they share in carefully crafted chocolate from another maker. It is an honor for them to share a small part of that adventure with their customers through their chocolate bars.

Their very first batch of chocolate was Maya Mountain Cacao from Toledo Belize. They were thrilled and encouraged that it turned out! As they continued, they have definitely had batches that they are less than proud of. Kristin said, "Thinking about it now, it is funny how we might think of some of our bars as undesirable, but at the time we made them, we were just excited with each batch because each one had a different flavor! We didn't even think of them as good or bad, just a new discovery and new information to play with." Over the past 3 years, they have been able to experiment with cocoa beans from 16 different areas and felt like they were just getting to a point of being able to form opinions and preferences about the style of chocolate they would like to create.

We asked Kristin more about her chocolate-making process. "The decisions of how long to roast, what temperature, how long to conche and what ratio of cocoa liquor to sugar, create several variables to balance and explore. I suppose that's what I like about bean-to-bar chocolate making. The artist in me loves exploring the flavor possibilities in chocolate and the environment it creates for constant experimentation. I find chocolate a beautiful medium to work with at every step in the process – from the raw beans to the finished hand-wrapped bar. There is so much anticipation in the bean-to-bar making process. I love the moment when I get to taste the final tempered bar of a new batch. Even though we have worked with the bean through the entire process, it still feels like it's a surprise gift to finally taste it."