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Budding chocolate industry may put Utah on culinary map

Published: Thursday, Nov. 28 2013 5:50 p.m. MST

Millcreek

Dana Brewster owns Millcreek Coffee Roasters and about two years ago, she decided to bring her expertise to the chocolate industry.

She and her husband Mark DelVecchio have been producing chocolate for two years as part of the bean to bar movement. They work directly with a farmer in Ecuador who produces the Arriba Nacional beans.

"The nuances that it has to me are so beautiful that we just decided to go with that particular bean," she said.

So far, Millcreek Cacao Roasters has been able to navigate the more volatile variables in the chocolate process: growing, sorting, roasting, cracking and winnowing the beans.

On Monday, she received news that an incoming bean order will be delayed by 27 days because the boat carrying them broke down. She has learned to see obstacles like this as "opportunity in disguise."

"It's really a labor of love," she said.

Brewster said the "affordable luxury" of chocolate is something that anyone can appreciate.

"All in all, I think chocolate lovers are universal," she said.

Solstice

Solstice began selling chocolate bars at the farmer's market in Park City as a means to provide a summer job to Scott and DeAnn Querry's 16-year-old daughter. They sold out of bars before the first day ended.

“Every bar is an absolute stunner,” Caputo said.

The company launched at the end of September and is currently working to keep up with demand.

“When people try it, they really like it,” Scott Querry said.

Their solar facility leaves nary a carbon footprint, with a zero waste policy, bio degradable packaging, and husks being used for compost.

They have their recipes down to an exact science. Roasting is timed down to the second; measurements are specific down to the grain.

"Honestly, I'd give it out if I could. I love it. It's so fun," Scott said.

Chocolate Conspiracy

Some vegan and healthy chocolates are “challenging to eat” and seem to be “punishing your mouth,” Caputo said, because they often forgo flavors to maintain what they see as product purity.

However, he carries bars from raw, vegan chocolate shop The Chocolate Conspiracy.

“There’s not good raw chocolate out there,” Chocolate Conspiracy owner AJ Wentworth said.

Because of this, Wentworth, a health nut and chocolate lover, decided to "bring raw chocolate to the fine chocolate industry."

He uses natural sweeteners and avoids roasting, tempering and fermenting the bean so that he can "showcase the raw bean," he said.

“I’m going to let the cacao do its thing and I’m going to present it in a way that people want to consume,” he said.

Mezzo Chocolate

Owner Christopher Webb, modeled his company after the drink of the Mayan and Aztec cultures. To them, it was a celebratory and ceremonial drink. Chocolate was also used as currency.

"I think they realized the power of the bean itself," he said.

In the years since the bar was taken to Spain and spread throughout Europe, it became more of a confection to be molded, shaped and made into candy. It lost its purpose as a cultural celebration drink.

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