There has been a lot of buzz of late about the artisanal chocolate movement. In the last decade alone the number of bean-to-bar chocolate makers has grown tenfold with a large number of them setting up shop in the Great Los Angeles area.
What Exactly is Bean-to-Bar?
The first thing one needs to know about bean-to-bar is that it is more than a process, it is also a philosophy. Like craft beer, the driving force behind the bean-to-bar movement is the passion of the chocolate maker. As a process, it takes chocolate making back to its roots, using only a few hand selected ingredients and all is made under one roof. The result, some of the most refined and unique flavor profiles imaginable each delivered in a hand crafted piece of chocolate.
While you can order and then enjoy ChocoVivo chocolates from the privacy of your own home, if you happen to be in the Culver City area and are a true chocolate aficionado, you won’t be able to pass on the opportunity to visit their chocolate factory. Believed to be the first bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the LA area, what you will experience at ChocoVivo’s is chocolate made in the tradition of the Mayans and Aztecs of 2000 years ago.
A rising star in the artisanal chocolate movement is LetterePress Chocolate but you won’t find a brick and mortar storefront for them just yet. Made by a husband and wife team, in a converted section of their apartment, theirs has been some of the best bean-to-bar artisan chocolates to hit the streets of Los Angeles. They consider themselves a “small batch” craft chocolate makers, producing about 60 bars per day, which are distributed to over a dozen Los Angeles locations. Their chocolate can also be purchase through their website.
The Mast Brothers are one of the latest to bring their to artisanal bean-to-bar chocolate making craft to Los Angeles with their new factory on South Santa Fe Avenue. Their new location is well worth visiting, not just to enjoy the great flavors of their craft chocolates, but also to experience the unique architecture of their chocolate factory. Sheep’s milk, almond butter and sea salt are just a sample of over a dozen flavor profiles they offer to their patrons and can also be purchase through their website.
And this is only a small sampling of what the bean-to-bar artisanal chocolate movement has brought to Los Angeles.