Today’s Solutions: July 25, 2024

The New American Chocolate Movement is changing the way we think about and taste chocolate. Their focus is “bean-to-bar” chocolate, meaning choosing cocoa beans that will make the best-tasting chocolate, while using artisanal and traditional techniques to make it. Dandelion Chocolate from San Francisco, California, is one of the few small-batch bean-to-bar makers around. I recently went to their factory and found out what makes their chocolate so special.

Many popular American chocolate makers, like Hershey’s and Nestlé, give you that much-needed sweetness, but you don’t hear many raving about their unique flavors. This is because for many chocolate companies the focus less on cocoa beans and more on big bucks. Larger chocolate companies don’t care as much about how a cocoa bean is roasted or fermented because they know they can always alter the flavors with cocoa butter, vanilla, or added aromas.

The New American Chocolate Movement brings people together who want to produce high-quality chocolate, which of course means leaving behind the extra add-ons and focusing instead with quality cocoa beans. Roasting cocoa beans for different periods of time and under different conditions gives every chocolate a unique flavor, choosing different beans from different regions will also impact the chocolate’s taste.

Dandelion Chocolate makes their chocolate out of two ingredients: cocoa beans and cane sugar. They work directly with farmers in three regions: Columbia, Costa Rica, and Madagascar, and all of their chocolates taste different. Since Dandelion Chocolate work with cocoa farmers directly they have influence over both the fermentation and roasting processes.

From sorting the beans by hand, to roasting, winnowing, grinding, melanging, and making the chocolate into bars, Dandelion produces a high quality chocolate that will put any Hershey’s bar to shame. The focus is on sharing and bringing out the actual flavor of the cocoa bean, showing how different regions and different roasting practices can bring out a distinct and original flavor.

Learn more about Dandelion Chocolates.

Photo credit: © 2012 Laurie Frankel Photography

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