#bean to bar chocolate Archives – PorchDrinking.com
Monsoon Chocolate is making bean to bar chocolate in the desert climate of Tucson, Arizona. It’s not a region we might think of as a hotspot for craft chocolate, but as founder Adam Krantz explains, the southwest has a strong historical claim to cacao, and he wanted to honor that heritage while also pushing the boundaries of flavor with unique regional ingredients like chiltepin chilis or mesquite.
Max Gandy, perhaps better known in the craft chocolate world as Dame Cacao, was one of the first chocolate educators I started following on Instagram many years ago now when I was first getting into the scene. With her Dame Cacao website and various podcasts over the years, she’s been a calm and knowledgeable voice within craft chocolate for nearly a decade now. She’s also incredibly well traveled, and has spent time at many cacao origins.
Firetree Chocolate in the UK has been making single origin dark chocolate from primarily Pacific island origins since launching in 2018, and they’re among my favorite single origin makers. As much as I love their complex bars, I also love their beautiful packaging, with its swirling colors and gold etching. Their motto is Rich Volcanic Chocolate, referencing the volcanic soil of the islands where their cacao is grown.
Most people associate mushrooms with savory foods, but that’s because many of us are unaware of both the wide flavor diversity of different types of mushrooms and the range of ways in which they can be incorporated into foods and beverages. Just a couple episodes back we talked with pastry chef and mixologist Michael George, who made an award-winning cocktail that incorporated black truffle mushrooms, and today we’re going to hear from a chocolate maker who offers a variety of craft chocolate bars using mushrooms, or what he calls, our little helpers.
Michael George is a bartender and pastry chef in Salt Lake City. They split their time between a couple different bars—you can find them on various nights at Water Witch, a James Beard-nominated bar, and Acme Bar Co. They bring a passion for flavor and story, their own vibrant personality, and the sensibility of their background in the kitchen to their drinks, in which they seek to both honor tradition and break through artificial barriers of what a drink can be. As a Black, queer, non-binary person, the barriers Michael is working to break down go far beyond just the strictures of what can go into a cocktail to encompass who gets to make that cocktail in the first place.
In this episode of Bean to Barstool, David Nilsen talks with Arron Liu of Chocobien in Hong Kong. Chocobien is a bean-to-bar chocolate company that produces many truly unique bars that employ flavors and ingredients from other artisan food and beverage segments, including beer, whiskey, coffee, sake, tea and more. Chocobien’s Beer Fermented bar uses malt, hops, and beer yeast in innovative ways to subtly evoke the flavors of beer from Hong Kong’s Black Kite Brewing. Arron talks about the ideas behind these bars, the partnerships and processes that went into their development, and the satisfaction this curious and creative maker finds in achieving the flavors he could only hold in his imagination at the start of each experiment.
Many people don’t realize chocolate is a fermented food. Before we can make chocolate from cacao, that cacao has to undergo a fermentation process. This process is usually spontaneous, meaning the microbiotic cultures that carry out cacao fermentation are not manually added to the fermentation substrate but instead occur naturally. That doesn’t mean it’s a hands off process. A great deal of knowledge and expertise both traditional and technical is required to yield the best results. The entire process has much in common with spontaneous fermentation used in brewing Lambics and many Wild Ales.
Pairing beer and chocolate is one of the major topics of Bean to Barstool. Chocolate can pair beautifully with a wide variety of grown-up beverages, however, and most people probably think of wine for this role first. Estelle Tracy leads wine and chocolate pairing events professionally. She comes to this not as a stuffy expert but as a curious observer who has learned along the way, following her senses to new areas of knowledge and expertise without losing the joy of discovery.
In this episode we talk with Arcelia Gallardo, the founder and chocolate maker at Mission Chocolate in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Arcelia has taken a long and winding road to making world class chocolate in Brazil, and as she’ll explain, her own journey is interwoven with the growth of the cacao industry and bean to bar chocolate scene in Brazil over the last decade. Arcelia also talks about the exciting craft beer scene in Brazil right now, and its relationship to cacao.
Sara Ratza loves plants. She’s a certified Holistic Health Practitioner, and she got into chocolate making through herbal medicine. She brings that plant wisdom and love for green, growing things to the art of chocolate making at Ratza Chocolate. Sara incorporates a variety of botanicals into her bars, including hops, an interest carried over from her love for craft beer.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, David Nilsen decided to sit down with author Michele Hauf, who has written a romance novel themed around craft and bean to bar chocolate called Lust and Chocolate. During their conversation, they talked about her process for writing the book, her own journey into craft chocolate, and whether or not chocolate is really an aphrodisiac.
Maple is a part of life in eastern North America. In this episode, you’ll hear from Canadian and American bean to bar chocolate makers and American craft brewers who use maple sap, sugar and syrup local to their areas in thoughtful, nuanced maple chocolate and maple beer. All of them had memories that tied the flavor of maple into the stories of their lives, and today you’ll hear how evocative the smells and flavors of maple can be.
Disclaimer: The author of this zine, David Nilsen, writes for PorchDrinking.
Becoming incredibly good at something takes a lot of time, effort and patience. In our constant need for instant gratification and expectation to be perfect at something the first time you do it, it becomes more and more rare to find a true expert. Do you think that a master woodworker was making a canoe during their first time using an oscillating saw? Or an Advanced sommelier knew how to tell what region of France a grape was from when they were 21? No. That’s why when someone shares their expertise and encourages others to learn from the time and effort they have put in, it’s a gift.
AJ Wentworth, the founder and chocolate maker for Utah’s The Chocolate Conspiracy, loves craft beer almost as much as he loves craft chocolate, and he’s partnered with several Salt Lake City craft breweries on a series of beer-infused craft chocolate bars, including bars with Uinta Brewing Baba Black Lager, Kiitos Brewing Coffee Cream Ales and Level Crossing Brewing Soul Rex Double IPA.
In today’s episode, AJ and beer writer David Nilsen discuss the partnerships The Chocolate Conspiracy and neighboring breweries, his process for infusing beer flavors into his bars, the burgeoning Salt Lake City beer and chocolate scenes and his background in raw cuisine.
New Zealand beer and chocolate writer Luke Owen Smith has worked in both the craft beer and craft chocolate industries in this island nation, giving him insight into what these artisan industries have in common and what they can learn from each other. In this episode, Luke and Bean to Barstool host David Nilsen discuss pairing beer and chocolate, New Zealand beer and chocolate, the challenges and opportunities for both in a small market, and how craft chocolate can learn from craft beer’s growth and its mistakes.
In this episode David Nilsen talks with Sam Ratto, the founder of Videri Chocolate in Raleigh, North Carolina. Videri is celebrating its 11th anniversary on December 15. Videri makes a full line of single origin and inclusion bars, as well as bonbons and other confections, and they also provide cacao in various forms for numerous breweries in the craft beer hotbed of North Carolina.
Here we hear Sam talk about his ongoing delight in chocolate and his partnerships with a number of craft breweries. We also hear from Sean Lilly Wilson of Fullsteam Brewery and Lauren Woods Limbach of New Belgium Brewing.
“I passionately believe that if we want to save the planet and be healthy we have to go back to savoring and not scoffing.”
In this episode David Nilsen talks with Spencer Hyman, co-founder of Cocoa Runners. Cocoa Runners is a website that sells many of the world’s finest craft chocolate bars, including bars from over 150 makers from over 40 countries. Prior to Cocoa Runners, Spencer was the COO of last.fm, and the playlist curation experience he gained there informs his work at Cocoa Runners, where he sees himself curating chocolate playlists of sorts for folks who may want some guidance when it comes to picking out their next great chocolate discovery.
On November 16 & 17, Bean to Barstool host and Advanced Cicerone David Nilsen in collaboration with French Broad Chocolates and Burial Beer in Asheville, NC, will be hosting two nights of events celebrating the relationship between beer and chocolate.
In today’s episode of Bean to Barstool, David talks with creative folks from French Broad Chocolates and Burial Beer, as well as Hi-Wire Brewing, Green Man Brewery, and Pisgah Brewing about the beers and treats we’ll be enjoying at these two excellent events. Listen in and then purchase your tickets to join us!
In this episode of the Bean to Barstool podcast, host David Nilsen talk with Hans Westerink of Violet Sky Chocolate in South Bend, Indiana, who creates fantastic single origin and inclusion chocolate bars and frequently collaborates with craft brewers. We also talk with Brett Smith of Branch & Bone Artisan Ales in Dayton, Ohio, who produces a wide variety of excellent and unique beers, including many using cacao from Violet Sky. Both discuss their own inspirations and the unlikely scenario that brought them together.
Kjartan Gíslason is the co-founder of Omnom Chocolate in Reykjavik, Iceland. Omnom is known not only for their delicious and creative bean to bar chocolate, but for the colorful packaging and marketing that presents the spirit of Omnom to consumers. In today’s episode, David Nilsen talks with Kjartan about that spirit behind Omnom, as well as their collaborations with Reykjavik craft breweries such as Borg Brugghus and KEX Brewing on both chocolates and beers, and the use of flavors distinct to Icelandic culture in their bars.