SPEAKING OF CHOCOLATE: and, the second chocolate company was MADRE, and my friend Nat Bletter. So here you also see drying and fermenting in different stages, and a Future flavoring flower---can you guess?
Speaking of Chocolate: on a recent trip to Honolulu to give a paper on cacao and chocolate for the regional World History Conference I stopped to visit old friends at two companies: the first is MANOA Chocolate and Tamara Armstrong.
This is Lilikoi-----also known as Passion Fruit. Shown growing at Madre Chocolate, O'ahu, Hawaii. Nat Blatter is also growing vanilla (which also originated in Mesoamerica-and must be hand pollinated).
Brian Flick (pictured) founded PITCH DARK in 2014. His interest in chocolate began when he was 14 and first made chocolate. By 17 he was ready to start his first business, which was selling wholesale chocolate. During his college studies he took a part time job making pastries. Then he travelled to different parts of the world,which included three months working with cacao farmers in Fiji. He now uses Fijian beans from these same farmers, as well as cacao from Nicaragua, Ecuador and Madagascar. He started with one store and processing area ,but has since expanded to a new and much larger factory that will in time have its own customer viewing area. His new equipment will allow him to considerably expand output as well as his variety of chocolate bars. Brian is also starting a new commercial line of chips and bars for chocolatiers, pastry makers and bakers. He will also be able to do private label chocolates as well as package them. PITCH DARK beans are given a light roast. You can taste what that means in both his fruity and floral bars in dark chocolate, and in his 99% chocolate bar made from four varietals. Some PITCH DARK chocolate bars are already sold internationally.
I went to Milk Farm in Eagle Rock for a chocolate and cheese tasting. The owner of this wonderful cheese shop is an expert on cheese. She did a wonderful job describing the cheeses! David Menkes brought some of his best Letterpress bars to match up with the cheese. Pictured giving a talk on how he does it, I can only say his bars get better and better.