Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker: Wm. Chocolate

Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker: Wm. Chocolate

Bean to Bar Chocolate Maker Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Website: Wm. Chocolate
Date Established: January 2016
Ingredients Used: 3 - Cacao, Organic Unrefined Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter
Allergy Information: Processed in an allergen-free facility

We interviewed William Marx of Wm Chocolate and this was his story to us:

“Wm. Chocolate began in early 2015 in my home kitchen, where my passion for making nutritious, ethically sourced, delicious food from scratch spilled over into chocolate. Simply put, I couldn’t find a chocolate on the market that met my standards, so I decided to make it myself – all the way from raw cacao bean to the finished chocolate bar.

From the start, I knew I wanted chocolate that is free from additives, fillers, and refined sweeteners. But once I started making it, I was struck by the huge range of flavors across different cacao origins. My mission expanded beyond just nutrition, to making and sharing chocolate that celebrated these diverse flavors.

It took about 6 months, dozens of batches and origins, and lots of problem-solving to pin down a process for making nutritious and boldly origin-forward chocolate. Several key techniques emerged: custom roast and conche profiles for each origin, minimal aging, and the addition of a small amount of cocoa butter to boost flavor transfer to the tongue. For nutritional integrity, I replaced the refined white sugar present in most chocolate with organic, fairly traded, unrefined cane sugar. Light brown in color, this sugar is basically dried cane juice with its vitamins, minerals, and flavor intact.

Once I had the process down, I began sharing the results with family and friends. Suddenly, I needed some kind of packaging, and felt a moral obligation to find an eco-friendly alternative to the landfill-destined foils and plastics that are commonly wrapped around chocolate bars. So I did my research and found a compostable freezer paper to use instead, which I would hand-cut and stamp with my initials, “WM.” The name “Wm. Chocolate” stuck, and although I've been through a couple design changes, keeping the packaging eco-friendly has always been a top priority. Please recycle or compost it after you’ve enjoyed your chocolate!

To continue the story, after nearly a year of making chocolate at home, I met Jonny Hunter, culinary director for the Underground Food Collective in Madison, WI. He quickly became a fan of my chocolate and helped me find a production space here in Madison. Thanks to his generous support and that of the several small shops first selling my bars, I was finally able to make Wm. Chocolate official in January 2016.

As my small company grows, its mission will always be to offer chocolate with character, made from premium cacao beans, purchased at ethical prices, free from refined ingredients, and produced and packaged in the most environmentally friendly way possible.”

*Photo courtesy of Working Draft Beer Company