Friday, August 1, 2014

Getting to Know Black Mountain Chocolate

Oh, y'all know I love chocolate! So I was beyond excited to interview Black Mountain Chocolate. Crafted right here in North Carolina, their sweet treats are complemented by even sweeter owners! We first met at a local farmer's market in Reynolda Village, Winston-Salem, where the Black Mountain Chocolate shop is located. Later this year, they'll be moving their chocolate factory to Winston-Salem, NC too, and we can't wait!! So if you've ever wondered how those delectable bars of chocolate are made, or if dark chocolate truly has great health benefits, read on! Dawn, one of the chief chocolatiers is giving us the sweet inside scoop!


Tell us a little about you and how Black Mountain Chocolate came to be.

My husband was passionate about his hobby of bean-to-bar chocolate making that he began in our home kitchen. Our youngest daughter was about to graduate from Wake Forest University. We realized that we now had the perfect opportunity to make a big career change (no more college tuition:). We were ready to begin our own company making chocolate from the bean and began asking other artisan chocolate makers for advice. In that process, we met somebody who was ready to sell his existing company with his excellent equipment. So on Sept 2, 2013, we became the new owners of Black Mountain Chocolate Co and our lives became full of all things chocolate :).

I am a self-proclaimed chocolate addict!! I love everything chocolate! So I must know, just how do you make it?

If you want a much more technical answer than this, you will need to ask "production" which is my husband, Brent and oldest daughter, Megan.  The process begins with fair-trade, organic cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic. They arrive at our workshop in 150 lb bags. We hand sort the beans to remove any foreign debris. The beans are then roasted to perfection and allowed to cool.  They are then put through an interesting machine (winnower) that cracks the roasted beans into small pieces called "cocoa nibs" while it is vacuuming away the hulls of the beans.  We add organic cane sugar and organic cocoa butter to the nibs and put them in a machine that liquifies it into chocolate. This process takes about 24 hours. The liquid chocolate goes into a holding tank. From the holding tank, it goes to a machine that further tempers it and dispense the correct amount for each bar we mold. The chocolate stays in the molds until it is cooled. Then it is time for each bar to be hand wrapped. Additional details are available on our website.


What makes your chocolate unique?

We use only certified organic and fair trade beans. We use premium cacao that only comprises about 5% of all cacao grown. Then we work with it to coax out the nuances of the beans to create the highest-quality chocolate. 

I love indulging in a delicious piece of chocolate with a glass of wine. What are some other great ways to pair chocolate?

Chocolate also pairs well with  heavier beers, like stout and porter.  And then there is a savory side of chocolate that pairs well with spicy dishes, like a Mexican mole sauce.


You’ve added a new section to your store called The Local Store. Tell us about it!

We believe in NC small batch producers because we are one! I wanted to provide a retail space in Reynolda Village that celebrated all of us and our hard work. I wanted to truly keep it LOCAL.  


We hear all the time that dark chocolate has great health benefits. Is it true? 

Interestingly, our doctor's office sells our dark chocolate bars in the little health food store associated with his practice.  Cacao has more antioxidants by weight than red wine. 

Just for fun, what’s the most interesting chocolate-covered food you’ve ever eaten?
I've actually not been very adventuresome on this front. Probably a spicy-hot pepper is the most unusual chocolate-covered food I've ever consumed. 

Find out more at Black Mountain Chocolate's Website | Facebook | Twitter

Photo Credit: Black Mountain Chocolate

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