The chocolate that many of us know today is a far cry from the chocolate of old. Those mass manufactured, supermarket shelf offerings are certainly not traditional flavours.
But it is not just the flavours. Mass produced by machines and stuffed full of ingredients to make it smell, taste and feel a certain way, the larger makers lack the artistry and craft of smaller, artisanal chocolatiers.
Artisan or craft chocolate makers are small businesses with a focus on hand producing authentic products in smaller quantities. They take great pride in their craft. They spend a lot of time and effort perfecting the “alchemy” of creating truly delectable and distinctive chocolate offerings.
Much like the craft beer scene – which has erupted in a big way in New Zealand – artisan chocolate makers are passionate about the quality of their offerings. In fact, many of these humble chocolatiers have won national and international awards for their innovative and mouth watering products!
Here at The Chocolate Tour we LOVE artisan chocolate. We would almost go so far to say that you haven’t really tasted chocolate until you have sampled artisanal chocolate.
It is so different from large-scale brands in the following ways:
How An Artisan Chocolatier Is Different To A Larger Maker
The Cacao Beans
Much like grapes and coffee beans, the flavour of chocolate can vary greatly depending on where the cacao beans are sourced from. Artisan chocolatiers put a great deal of effort into sourcing unique beans from around the globe and bringing out the inherent taste characteristics in each type.
From Guatemala and Papua New Guinea to Fiji and Haiti, artisans often work directly with small growers to source their beans. They also care about sustainability and ethical purchasing, supporting local communities by paying what the products are worth.
The Elaborate Process
Making chocolate by hand is a true craft. Artisans painstakingly work from bean to bar, overseeing each stage of the process to create one-of-a-kind chocolates. From roasting and milling to pressing, tempering and moulding, they have complete control over each batch.
Creativity And Innovation
Because artisanal chocolate makers craft small batches by hand, they have endless opportunities for creativity and innovation. A quick browse through any artisan chocolatier’s offerings, and you will find diverse flavour combinations you had never dreamed of.
While the larger manufacturers tend to stick with the tried and true favourites, smaller makers love to experiment and create new tastes and textures.
Artisans rely on carefully selected, quality ingredients to create the superb taste and texture of their chocolate. The larger maker’s pile in extras like milk solids, emulsifiers, flavours, cocoa powder and vegetable fat. Not to mention going overboard on the sugar!
An artisan chocolate bar will often only feature cacao beans and sugar. The emphasis is more on cacao content than sugar.
Supporting Local Chocolatiers
When you purchase artisanal chocolate, you are supporting local businesses and individuals who live and die by their craft. You get to experience the different flavour profiles of cacao beans from across the globe, while supporting developing communities in the countries of origin.
Artisanal chocolate is a treat for the senses that allows you to appreciate the craft of chocolate making as it was intended to be: pure, natural, and a little bit decadent.
So, if you would like to try some “real” chocolate, why not consider a Chocolate Tour subscription. With monthly or quarterly options, we deliver an amazing range of different pieces from artisan chocolatiers all over New Zealand. Check out the options now.