By Spencer Reifel | Staff Writer|
Every origin of chocolate is different. Have you ever wanted to taste a chocolate from the Dominican Republic and then try another chocolate bar from Belize? At Parliament Chocolate, you can experience flavors from around the world with each and every bar.
Chef and owner Ryan Berk looked at the artisan chocolate business and saw a great opportunity to do fair trade, and showcase a delicious product like chocolate.
Products from Parliament Chocolate are like a fine wine, as they focus on the different flavors brought out by the original cocoa bean.
They are a small team of passionate individuals, motivated to bring something new and exciting to the chocolate world.
The truth is, the art of chocolate making is an artisanal process. Parliament Chocolate’s respect for the amazing cocoa bean fuels their process by deciding to only use two ingredients: high quality cocoa and organic cane sugar.
“We at Parliament know how beautiful, flavorful, sweet and delicious great chocolate can be,” Berk said. “Yet, the process of making great chocolate has to start in one place, and that is with the farmers. We strive to treat our producers and small co-op farmers with the utmost respect and gratitude for the product they provide us.”
With this value, they also make sure these producers are using good environmental practices throughout the entire process.
To achieve this, they go directly to the farmers and their families and pay them above market value for their hard work and commitment to environmental protection.
“By creating these direct relationships, we can also be sure the farmers are striving to provide the most up-to-date processes in growing, fermentation, and drying,” said Berk.
After creating a great relationship with the farmers and liking the cocoa they have brought to states, they start to take the fermented cocoa bean and create a chocolate bar.
At the start, the fermented and dried cocoa beans are cleaned to remove all extraneous material. Then they are ready to be roasted.
To bring out the chocolate flavor and color, the beans are roasted. The temperature, time and degree of moisture involved in roasting depend on the type of beans.
The roasted beans are then sent through a cracker and winnowing machine
. A winnowing machine is used to remove the shells from the beans to leave just the cocoa nibs.
A nib is a 100 percent piece of fermented cocoa bean that has been broken up to a little tiny piece the size of gravel.
Once they have a nib, they create a gritty liquor and add organic sugar to the mix and mill in a melangeur which is the process of breaking down the size of cocoa and sugar to a perfect texture using granite wheels that rub together.
“When we start making chocolate from the time it is in the states and made into a chocolate bar, it takes five to seven days,” stated Berk.
Once they have a chocolate bar, Parliament Chocolate does sampling and you can taste completely different flavors from different locations and even seasonal products.