One Trip to Colombia and a Eureka Moment
When people ask us, “Why chocolate?” I recount New Year’s Eve 2016 when my girlfriend Kelechi ran into our Brooklyn bedroom and exclaimed, “Let’s make chocolate!” We were in the middle of planning a February vacation to Colombia and had been told by nearly everyone to visit a coffee plantation. As Kelechi would say, “meh..” We aren’t big coffee drinkers, but it just so happens that Colombia is also a large exporter of cacao beans. A cocoa plantation? Now that was a day trip we could get behind!
A YouTube (or ten) videos later, making chocolate didn’t seem like such a crazy idea. We were watching people make it in their kitchens, what could be so hard? So before we set out for Colombia — a delicious and breathtaking country by the way — we purchased a wet grinder, a bag of cocoa nibs from Whole Foods and had at it. After grinding, tempering by hand and pouring into a mold from a local craft store, we agreed that our first bar was pretty good. For our next batch, we decided to roast our own bean. Again, what could be so hard? The answer: plenty. But I’ll cover that in another post.
Two Lesbians, a Bar and a Shared Passion
A little over three years ago, Kelechi and I met in an NYC lesbian bar named The Dalloway (R.I.P. The Dalloway). We were both finishing our masters and each brought our own entrepreneurial spirit and respective pet projects to the relationship. But as real life settled in, and graduations began to seem like distant memories, we began to feel our shared entrepreneurial itch increase tenfold.
As two very different women, with different sets of talents, we knew that professionally we complemented each other nicely. Kelechi comes from a business background and has an MBA. I, on the other hand, am a writer/marketer, with an M.A. in Entrepreneurial Journalism, that prefers words to numbers. We knew that what one of us lacked in one discipline, that the other would more than compensate for. So against much advice, we decide to go into business together. We took stock of our interests and knew that food and travel were the passions that we shared most deeply.
The afternoon of Kelechi’s light bulb moment, was the culmination of months of happy hours, jotting down ideas on cocktail napkins and using none of them. It turned out, we didn’t need brainstorming sessions. All we needed was to follow our taste buds.
Nibs and Grit
Since that New Year’s Eve, we’ve spent hours researching and reading everything we can about chocolate. We’ve tasted dozens of bean-to-bar chocolate bars from around the world (many of which we will review in later posts), spoken to as many chocolate makers and tasters as we could and spent many late-night hours roasting, grinding and tempering chocolate. What has come out of this grueling experience is something we are quite proud of: a delicious bar of chocolate.
Though neither of us comes from a culinary background — something many might criticize — what we have learned is that passion, determination and per grit can often take you further than any diploma or certificate.
We love chocolate with every taste bud on our tongue, eat more than we probably should (often for breakfast) and have a stubborn notion that we can make the best chocolate you’ve ever tasted.
Hugs and chocolate,
Kelechi + Sara