A few years ago, some close friends in Mexico started to feel they needed a place where they, along with other families, could live more sustainable lives. It was late in 2019 when our dad and three close friends left on a scouting trip. Driving from one town to another, they passed through a quaint small town in central Mexico where they felt to make an impromptu stop and walk down to the plaza. Under the big tree there stood a woman selling roughly-ground Mexican-style chocolate truffles that she and her husband made from scratch to support their family. Our dad bought a few of them for us to try.
After their trip, our dad gave us the little bags of hand-made truffles, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Father’s Day was approaching, and a couple of families were going to get together to celebrate. We decided to make a special dinner for our fathers. A friend had the idea of making a chocolate dessert, and somehow, buying cacao to try to recreate those little truffles seemed a necessity. Father's Day came, and with big smiles, we were able to surprise them with our very first batch of scratch-made chocolate. Unaware of what fine chocolate making entailed, we hand-ground the whole bean, husk and all, with a mortar and pestle, giving us a similar texture to the hand-rolled truffles in Mexico. Despite our scattered efforts, our “first batch of hand-made chocolates,” they said, “was the icing on the cake to an amazing display of love and care” towards them. That night marked the first step towards something we never dreamt of happening.
Although our family has been around food preparation for a long time –our grandfather owned a successful taqueria in Mexico, and we have been operating Muchos Tacos and Heritage Food Crafters for a while– there was something that seemed almost magical about chocolate that captivated us. We immersed ourselves into this new world, learning to unlock the wide range of flavors available from genetic varieties, the distinctive delicacies of each origin, the subtleties of diverse terroirs and the significant effect distinct fermentation practices impart into the beans. We learned about roasting profiles, cracking and winnowing techniques, grinding and conching times, chocolate-making equipment, and the art of hand-tempering, among other skills.
Through countless hours of practice, experiments and modifications to roasting profiles and other chocolate making methodologies, we began to slowly develop the craft chocolate we have come to know as our current line of single-origin bars and confections. We learned the difference that stone-grinding and small batches make, that freshness was key, and that –just like with the best coffees– the time that lapses between roasting, grinding and serving significantly impacts the quality of the product. Accordingly, we learned that processing our chocolate in small batches with a stone melanger, a process that takes time and care to bring out the best possible experience, produces a true world-class chocolate. Our dad was once explaining the particulars of our process to a local friend, who, after considering what he had just heard, said:
“That’s the way of the craftsman!”
We are constantly striving for better products, whether it be experimenting with our single-origin bars to see how we can improve flavor and texture or developing new recipes for other chocolate-based products.
Going back to the beginning of the story, you should know that our friends eventually did move into that small town in central Mexico. We feel that the stop there was more than a mere coincidence, that it remains knit with our destiny. We hope that through our chocolate-making journey, you too can experience the harmony we feel in it and the wholeness and care we pour into every one of our products as we continue to strive to make the best for you, your friends and your family.
- The Anzaldua Family