We enjoy Hershey’s milk chocolate as much as the next guy… actually, we probably enjoy it much more than the next guy. Most chocolate enthusiasts find Hershey’s sour and gritty. Try as we might, we have no idea what they’re talking about. We really don’t think it’s about nostalgia, either, but who knows. That said, our catholic palates embrace the “good” stuff as well, especially the interesting, nuanced bean-to-bar chocolates crafted by artisans like the folks at Maverick Chocolate.
Bean-to-bar, which starts with cocoa beans, is a lot of work. You may ask, doesn’t all chocolate start with cocoa beans? Of course, but the vast majority of chocolatiers, and food companies which deal with chocolate, don’t make chocolate. They buy the base chocolate from big producers such as Valrhona or Callebaut, or Nestle’s and Hershey’s, for that matter. There’s nothing wrong with that but it’s not only limiting, it’s less interesting. Start with the bean and you have access to cacao’s full flavor possibilities.
Maverick has to source the cocoa beans, roast them, grind them, conch them for days (to make the resulting chocolate smooth-textured), and mold them. You can see all this equipment when you enter their retail shop/factory, and they’ll be happy to explain any part of the process to you. Best of all, there are apothecary jars filled with samples of the different chocolates they make.
You can contrast, say, the 70% Belize with the 80% San Martin, Peru. The Farenheit 513 Dark, with its inclusion of chilies and spice, is one of our favorites. We enjoy the crunch of the cocoa nibs in the dark milk bar. There’s also a white chocolate scented with lavender and lemon, and a milk chocolate with bourbon. Maverick makes truffles, as well, with their hand-made chocolate, looking something like 20-sided dice.
They make a French-style drinking chocolate mix — just cocoa beans and sugar, both organic — and if you’re lucky enough to be there on a warm day when they use it for frozen hot chocolate, you simply have to get yourself a cupful of the elixir, which we guarantee will shake you out of any doldrums.
Maverick is set up for shipping — see the website for details. The chocolate is not inexpensive, nor would you expect it to be. We think it’s worth every penny.129 West Elder Street Cincinnati OH 45202 513-381-0561 Maverick Chocolate’s Website Maverick Chocolate on Facebook