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The World's Smallest* Chocolate Factory

Desiree Cooper

Marc Sanchez

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Raw Chocolate
(Josh Sarantitis)
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Colin Gasko: I'm going to need you guys to put on some hair nets. You know, I have to keep up with the FDA jurisdiction. Just want to make sure we keep the chocolate nice and clean and-

Desiree Cooper: All right, we'll do anything for the chocolate (laughter) that's fine, let's do it.

So, these are some Trinidad beans.

They're like the size of kidney beans.

Yeah, they sort of look like almonds. Then we go over to the roaster. The roaster is basically some small convection ovens that I've tweaked with to make them roast cocoa beans properly.

Next step is to the winnower and cracker. That breaks the beans, removes the hulls, and what we basically have then is what we would call nibs.

The nibs go to the melangeur, and now this grinds the nibs down into what you call cocoa liquor, which is liquid ground cocoa mass. I hand-mix everything with sugar, then all of that goes into this triple roll mill.

And then I take what's called flake off of there, and then the flake goes into the conch. Now I just go this --

Ooh! It looks like a fondue pot! Sort of--

Yeah, it's not a real conch, this is a machine that was designed for grinding batter, for dhosas, you know, Indian pancakes. It's been modified pretty excessively. Basically the rolls across the machine --

Who taught you all this stuff? Because it sounds like there's a lot of fine-tuning in here.

Well, I mean, you read technical manuals, you talk to other people in the industry, a lot of, just a lot of experimentation. I've cried a lot in this factory (laughs).

You've cried a lot?

Yeah, when you've been working fourteen hours and nothing happens (laughs), you'd cry too.


You know, it's just a constant process of tweaking. And for me, if I feel like I'm getting something, I'll stop doing it because it no longer has any attraction. So chocolate's great because it's just one frustration after another.

And I'm going to get to taste any chocolate today?

You bet. You get to taste lots.

All right, I just have to know, like, is this going to be worth the wait?

This machine is a vibrating table. Basically, what it does is kind of like if you were to cast concrete, you need to shake the mold. So if you shake it at a certain rate, you actually are able to get the bubbles out very quickly.

Then, they sit on a rack and they cool.

It's kind of like putting a pie in the window.

Yup. And then I de-mold them. You'll notice there's no bubbling on the back, it's got a good sheen on both sides. Then, if you snap it, you hear a nice clean break, it'll break along a nice, a good line.

Now what kind is this?

This one is the Sambriano

Oh, wait a minute, I'm getting a complex taste here.

They have this really bright, fruity ... I get a lot of red fruit, like plums, some raisin, there's definitely a lot of citrus.

So you didn't actually add any citrus to this?

No, there's no citrus added to it

'Cause it tastes like I'm eating fruit and chocolate at the same time!

It's going straight to my brain-and my hips. (Laughter) Why is your company called Rogue Chocolatier?

Generally, this industry is dominated by enormous companies. If you were to look at it from a business perspective, it's like, why in the world would you spend all this money and time -- spend 30 hours making 30 pounds of chocolate? There's no good reason to do it.

You rogue, you!

Yeah, it's a crazy, stupid idea and I wouldn't recommend it, but I love it.


* It might be the smallest.


  • Comment | Refresh

  • By A P

    From Boulder, CO, 02/16/2008

    I have known Colin for about a decade. He makes the Best chocolate I have ever tasted. World Class. Order from his website www.roguechocolatier.com/ This guy is gonna go far.

    By Phoenix Woman

    From St. Paul, MN, 02/12/2008

    I've tried the Ocumare and the Sambriano, and they are both VERY good. Much better than Green & Black's, now that Cadbury's bought G&B and made them a shadow of what they once were. You know how 70% chocolates often taste burnt, bitter, or both? These babies are smooth as silk, with all the flavor of the beans coming through. I can't wait to taste the Hispaniola and the limited-edition brands!

    By CF Wucky

    From WA, 02/11/2008

    This was an interesting story. I love chocolate and have tried two of his flavors (they're good).
    Folks should also check out Theo Chocolate in Seattle. They are the only maker of Organic, Fair Trade chocolate in the USA, have great product and also offer tours of their cool factory.

    By neille i


    Check out the link up top to Rogue Chocolatier!

    By carol barrymore

    From st cloud, MN, 02/09/2008

    where is the worlds smallest chocolate factory? I would like to buy chocolate from him.

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