Rob M.||Escazu Chocolates: Hand Crafted from Bean to Bar|
Apr 3, 2012 at 11:11 am |
Escazu Artisan Chocolates in downtown Raleigh is a bean to bar chocolate maker, that handcrafts quality chocolate from the very beginning to the end of the process. Below is an outline of the process followed by owner Hallot Parson and his team in crafting every piece of chocolate.
Sourcing: The process starts by selecting quality organic cacao and vanilla beans. Cacao trees require tropical growing conditions and are mainly found around the equator. It is from this tree's bean, the Cacao bean, that cocoa is made, the primary ingredient for chocolate. Escazu's process begins by traveling to countries such as Costa Rica and Venezuela to source the best beans directly from the farms that grow them. Owner Hallot Parson makes frequent trips down to visit with farmers, just recently returning from a trip to Costa Rica.
Sorting: After importing the dried beans back to the US, Hallot and his team sort through every bag of beans by hand to remove stones, impurities, and any beans that do not meet their standards.
Roasting: After hand sorting the beans, they are roasted over very low heat in an antique cast iron ball roaster. Roasters of this type are not available commercially. Hallot found the roaster in Spain, and had it shipped back to Raleigh for his operation. This particular roaster was originally built in the 1920's. The roasting process is important in further developing the final chocolate flavor.
Winnowing: After roasting, the nib of the cacao bean is separated from the husk. The nibs are the essence of cocoa, filled with chocolate solids and cocoa butter. They can be found in specialty stores for use in cooking, Escazu also sells nibs directly in their store. The husks are sent to Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, where they are used for their "Working Man's Lunch" beer.
Grinding: The nibs then go into an antique (1930) stone grinder where they are mixed with pure cane sugar. The nibs grind away for 4 days, transforming them into a thick paste.
Aging: After grinding, the chocolate is aged for 1 month, to further develop and mature the flavors.
Molding and Wrapping: After aging, the chocolate is hand ladled into molds where it cools and takes solid form. All bars are then wrapped and packaged by hand. They can be purchased directly from Escazu's store in downtown Raleigh, or from local retailers such as Papa Spud's.
There is a short video on the Escazu Artisan Chocolate website that puts the process to music. Using the preceding steps as a base, you should be able to follow the process. It starts with the large ball roaster.
Tours are also available of the chocolate making process as Escazu Artisan Chocolates.
Irene R. (Apr 6, 2012 at 11:20 am)
I don't see them on the list. Are they available this week?
Amanda H. (Apr 6, 2012 at 11:52 am)
Can we order this chocolate in our box?
Rob M. (Apr 6, 2012 at 11:59 am)
We had them available the last couple of weeks. We are currently waiting for the next production order to come in. Unfortunately, I've been told we won't have them in time for next week, but hopefully the following week.
Phyllis L. (Apr 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm)
The chocolate with sea salt was wonderful. Loved the smoothness of the chocolate. Very good!
Jason W. (Apr 9, 2012 at 8:30 am)
"The nibs then go into an antique (1930) stone grinder where they are mixed with pure can sugar."
I think you meant cane sugar?
Rob M. (Apr 10, 2012 at 8:08 am)
Jason, you are right. It should be cane sugar. Thanks!
Heather A. (Apr 13, 2012 at 6:28 pm)
Can't wait to try another one! The sea salt was great but the goats milk beat out by a nose, so yummy!