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What does "bean-to-bar" mean?Maybe you have heard the term "craft chocolate" or "bean to bar" thrown around; you may have even seen it on a mass-market chocolate product. While our industry does not have a definitive definition, we consider "bean-to-bar" chocolate to be made by artisans/chocolate makers who begin with cacao beans (be it cacao from their own farms/fermentaries, or purchased from a supplier), then apply their own roasting and making styles to create a finished chocolate product. We are wary of mass market chocolate bars (sold for $1-4 at big box retailers) that use this label, as to us, it connotes far greater care to each individual batch of chocolate than these mass makers are able to provide.
What does "single origin" and "single estate" mean?Single Origin: the cacao (read: beans and cocoa butter) in the product are from a single region, and can be transparently traced back to one or more farms from a certain area. Single Estate: the cacao beans and butter are grown and come from a single farm/hacienda, and can be transparently traced back to that single place. We consider a chocolate product to be single origin or single estate when its entire cacao content (the beans and butter) are from one region or farm, rather than a mix of cacao from multiple countries or multiple regions in one country.
What are the circled images on the back of your bar?These are very broad "tasting expectations"- or predominant flavors that you can expect from the bar. We frequently find cacao to have flavors of spices (herbs included), fruits (fresh or dried), nuts (such as hazelnuts, or a general "nutty" flavor), or floral notes. Like wine or coffee, tasting notes go pretty deep- we sometimes taste the flavor of a good loaf of bread or plain yogurt, for example, in a chocolate. These images are just a generalized guideline to help you choose a chocolate you or your gift recipient might like.
What are your ingredients and certifications?All of our bars are three ingredient: cacao nibs, cocoa butter, and late-season maple sugar. They are vegan and paleo friendly, gluten free, and processed in a kosher facility. While we are not certified organic, many of our cacaos are grown without the use of commercial pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides. Organic certification is quite costly and takes time, and many of our farmers do not have the means to acquire such certifications. Equally, while we are not certified fair trade, we directly import our cacao and have relationships with our suppliers and farmers, and pay well above what is considered to be the commodity price, or "fair trade" price, of cacao. Our maple sugar is grown in Vermont in the United States, and we prefer the late-season, as it has a more complex, maple-y flavor and is full of minerals!
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