Like wines grown from different kinds of grapes, chocolates made from cacao beans brought from Ecuador, Bolivia, and other countries which provide deliciously different tastes. Here are the 6 Places to taste Bean-to-Bar Chocolate.
Visit any of these craft chocolatier to sample their melt-in-your-mouth treats.
1. Dandelion Chocolate, San Francisco, California
If you want to experience Dandelion Chocolate, you should visit San Francisco’s Mission District. Here beans are roasted, broken, grounded, and otherwise prepared before being molded into bars by hand.
Dandelion, which has won multiple awards for its chocolate, works directly with cacao producers to buy high-quality beans grown by sustainable methods. They’ve taken trips to Hawaii; Maya Mountain Cacao, Belize; Ecuador; and the Dominican Republic. You can treat yourself to a Kokoa Kamili Bar from Tanzania, with flavors of ripe mango and caramelized red berries. You can also treat a bar made from Venezuelan beans that taste of roasted almond, dulce de leche, and chocolate fudge.
2. Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate Micro-factory, Atlanta, Georgia
This is Jem of Atlanta’s chocolate scene born in the steamy jungles of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica after founders Elaine Read and Matt Weyandt start living there with their children and began meeting local cacao growers and artisanal chocolate makers.
Today, the company’s small factory, located in the city’s Krog Street Market, grinds whole beans from small farms in the Americas and East Africa and turns them into chocolate liquor. You will not find cocoa butter used at Xocolatl; the makers craft their single-origin, dark chocolate with only cocoa and cane sugar, and add ingredients like sea salt, dried apple, and peppermint to make flavored bars.
You can book a tour and tasting to learn about the bean-to-bar process, which will also wine. And don’t miss Xocolatl’s Frozen Drinking Chocolate, a “slushy” beverage made with Nicaraguan chocolate in coconut milk, with coconut whipped cream and cacao nibs toppings.
3. ChocoVivo, Los Angeles, California
It grinds its beans with a mano and metate, tools that are used as a mortar and pestle. The only ingredients in ChocoVivo’s products are whole cacao nibs and spices, so it’s dark chocolate. It is the only kind of chocolate the company makes that has a pure, stone-ground, traditional taste. Select bars made with 100 percent, 85 percent, 75 percent, or 65 percent cacao, or try flavored chocolates like Cherries + Almonds + Black Peppercorns. You can also crumble the bars to make a yummy trail mix.
You can also snack on Shangri-La Bars or melt them for drinking chocolate. They’re made with beans from Tabasco, Mexico; unrefined cane sugar; toasted black sesame; and bits of chewy, organic Goji berries. They make great pairings with white or light red wines.
4. Amano Chocolate, Orem, Utah
This is an award-winning chocolatier. They are passionate about their craft; in fact, “Amano” is Italian for both “by hand” and “they love.” They’ve won international awards for products like their Raspberry Rose Bar, made with raspberries and ground rose petals mixed into smooth chocolate, and the Mango Chili Bar, which combines the creamy, fruity flavor of mangos with the warmth of chiles. The Madagascar 70 percent Dark Chocolate Bar, is one of the original bars, packed with fruity citrus and berry tastes—and it earned a gold medal from London’s respected Academy of Chocolate. Opt for ChocoVision’s $2,250 Revelation Delta, sold by Amano, to melt and temper up to ten pounds of chocolate in an hour.
5. Solstice Chocolate, Salt Lake City, Utah, and other locations
Rich, delicious Solstice small-piece chocolate is made from exotic, slow-roasted cacao beans. All the ingredients are 100 percent organic. Using 100 percent solar power and fully recyclable, resealable packaging. Try the 70 percent Ugandan Bundibugyo Dark Chocolate; its mildly bitter taste comes from cocoa powder made from fine Bundibugyo cacao beans, combined with bits of berries and tree fruit.
Palos Blancos Bars are produced from beans cultivated in a rainy region in Bolivia. They have a deep, chocolatey taste with flavor of fresh cream and nuts. This is one of the Places to taste Bean-to-Bar Chocolate.
6. Madre Chocolate, Honolulu and Kailua, Hawaii and other locations
Talk about paradise: Madre’s organic, fair-trade chocolates and the tropical beauty of these Hawaiian destinations make an unbeatable combination. The makers lightly process their beans to retain healthy antioxidants, and flavorsome bars with fruits and spices usually used by the Aztec, Maya, and Olmec tribes that invented chocolate.
You can also sign up for events or classes to make your own chocolate, or to enjoy a whiskey and chocolate pairing. It also offers farm to factory tours, wine and chocolate pairings, and an experience with craft coffee and chocolate. Madre products are available in Hawaii and other locations around the world. These are the 6 Places to taste Bean-to-Bar Chocolate.