We write this post with heavy hearts. Sitting here in Washington, DC, as with many other international capitals, we are witnessing history. Every day, masses of people flood the streets of DC to protest, marching to the White House and elsewhere. Helicopters fly, extremely close to the ground, every night before curfew starts. The sounds and sights are intense. We are in pain and we are here to listen and to learn. If you are in DC right now, there are numerous ways to support the black community. One thing you might consider is purchasing goods from local black-owned businesses, such as a dessert from delicious The Sweet Lobby, or check out one of the many online lists of businesses. Order online. And stay safe.
Yesterday, we had the fortune to attend the Chocolate Business Webinar: The State of the Industry and Next Steps, held by the Chocolate Alliance, and we want to share some key takeaways with you about how to navigate as a chocolate shop or brand during COVID-19. Held on #BlackoutTuesday, much of the discussion was focused on the United States and the unrest felt here. In many ways, the panel felt not like a lecture to the consumer, but a letter to the industry itself. The key takeaways include: focus first and foremost on human health (at office, factory and at origin), embed transparency into your business model and innovate your offerings and how you share your stories.
New craft chocolate strategy: human health, transparency, innovation
We have a vision to travel the globe and spend time in some of the most beautiful, inspiring, decadent chocolate shops. Here’s our current wanderlust wish list of 8 chocolateries to visit in the year 2020:
We respect that your time is precious; our reverence for time — whether for inspiration or reflection — is literally in our name, time cupsoul. When we listen to podcasts, to love one, we set the bar extremely high. Here are our favorite chocolate-themed podcasts that feel more like nourishment than noise:
It happened. Time Cupsoul finally tried Askinosie Chocolate! In Washington, DC, you can buy many of the Askinosie chocolate bars at The Chocolate House on 18th Street NW. Additionally, be sure to try the “Askinosie hot chocolate” at Dolcezza Gelato‘s locations throughout the city. Cocoa pictured, here.
Askinosie‘s Dark Chocolate (70% Tanzania) + Crunchy Sugar Crystals & Vanilla Bean bar caught our attention; Askinosie partnered with “pioneering food friends” for a collection of their artisan “CollaBARation Bars,” including the ancho chile and pistachio bar with Cafe Pasqual, and a dark chocolate and coffee bean bar with Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters. This particular vanilla bean chocolate bar represents collusion with Zingerman’s Delicatessen.
It’s Saint Patrick’s Day today in the United States and what better a day to taste a handmade Irish chocolate bar!
Bean and Goose Chocolateis a sister-owned craft chocolate operation in Wexford, Ireland. Heeding a barista’s recommendation, the “Single Origin Irish Sea Salt and Cocoa Nibs, Cocoa 76%,” was purchased. Would pure chocolatier craftmanship and a touch of Irish luck make this bar a winner?
The Bean and Goose bars’ packaging (seen also on other selections), is somewhat minimalist, with one washed color and bright white lettering (see picture above). The Irish Sea Salt and Cocoa Nibs bar has a grey paper package, and upon turning over, reveals a white sticker with further information regarding the brand: “We are Karen and Natalie Keane, sisters and premium chocolate makers based in the Wexford countryside… We create chocolate that reflects contemporary Ireland, its flavours, its colours and its people.” Never having traveled to Ireland, this concept seemed exciting. What flavors would reveal themselves?
A dear friend and sailorwoman recently navigated through the Caribbean and stopped on the island of Grenada. A gorgeous island located near St. Lucia, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago, Time Cupsoul looked up pictures of the stunning oasis and followed the friends’ adventures via reading articles online. Among other attractions, a key discovery was made: Grenada has cocoa trees, and The Grenada Chocolate Companyis an award-winning bean-to-bar maker on the island. After a few short weeks, the “Organic Dark Chocolate Nib-A-Licious 60%” bar arrived at the Time Cupsoul doorstep, direct from the Caribbean Sea.
It’s another East Coast chocolate bar up for review today: Taza Chocolate, based out of Somerville, Massachusetts. This chocolate bar is very unique in its circular shape and texture. The bar is “stone ground,” meaning that the cocoa beans are “unrefined” and “minimally processed,” according to the labeling on the package.