Chocolate is Medicine
We believe strongly in simplicity and working in harmony with our environment: almost all of our chocolate bar ingredients we grow on our farm. The notable exception is the sugar, which is organic and Costa Rican. It's great fun to discover new combinations which are great tasting and work synergistically to support one of the many healthy elements already present in the cacao. I think it helps that the botanicals and fruits we use grow together with the cacao on the farm: they're already connected through the mycellium below the soil.
Take Your Medicine
I like to play with flavours and properties, and of course changing them as we move through the harvests on the farm.
For instance, my 'Theobroma' bar has pataste and cacao nibs. Pataste (Theobroma bicolor) is a close relative of cacao and historically was an important fruit tree in Central America. The Mayan Popol Vuh speaks of humans being created from "white corn and yellow corn, cacao and pataste". In this region it was grown as a nut: a rich source of fat and traditionally used to make a nutrious and delicious drink. Pataste fruits fall when ripe and are encased in a beautiful, hard and deeply ridged shell. Inside the beans are wrapped in a strong tasting butter yellow pulp that sticks to the seeds. Pataste is not fermented but dried straight out of the shell. (However in the Oaxaco region of Mexico it is fermented in a special process involving burying it for 6 months underground.) The seeds look a little larger than cacao and are white. Pataste is also called white cacao or Jaguar cacao - jaguars were associated with death and the direction south, as was cacao. We grow several pataste trees and are planting more. My pataste supply will soon run out and I'll have to wait til this year's harvest before making more Theobroma bars: a little sad perhaps, but delightful too in that there remains a great connection to the seasonal availability of ingredients.
Our raw chocolate bars retain the health giving antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that makes cacao a superfood. With a strong focus on flavour, we add organic fruits, nuts, spices and herbs to accentuate the health giving properties of the cacao: a little bit of alchemy and the ability to grow so many wonderful ingredients creates a great tasting and good~for~you chocolate bar.