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Monday, April 4, 2016
Moonlighting: Bean to Bar Chocolate Made at Home
Some people make their own chocolate to accommodate personal food allergies or intolerances. Others make chocolate to suit vegan, Paleo or other restrictive diets that make chocolate difficult to buy. Some like the sense of accomplishment, astounded by the mere fact that making chocolate 'from scratch' is really a simple process (more complex if you want your chocolate to be award-winning, of course, but relatively simple for basic edible chocolate). And a few passionate people hope to achieve greatness someday, perhaps sell their chocolate, open a business, and make money from the endeavor.
Thomas Snuggs is one of those people who loves chocolate, and wanted to make it for himself. His dreams are to make really good chocolate at home, share with friends and family, and hopefully sell enough to cover the cost of his passion and pastime. He has branded his homemade chocolate bars "Moonlight Chocolates" because that is exactly how they came about. Thomas has been making chocolate in the late evening hours for a few years, enjoying his craft and the natural experimentation that comes with it.
Thomas has experimented so much in fact, that he has created over 12 flavors of Moonlight chocolate! I was amazed to see and taste all his creations. He has made other flavors too, all of which you can see on his website at: http://moonlightchocolates.com/. And for all of these chocolate bars, organic ingredients have been used.
Thomas is in the process of obtaining a CFO permit to sell his chocolate, and so you will be able to purchase his chocolate soon! He is selling locally only, not online, which means if you are in Santa Clara County, California, you can buy his products.
I love watching passionate home bean-to-bar chocolate makers, like Thomas, expand and flourish into a for-profit pastime. As the passion grows, the artisan skill and craft are improved. Thomas, like many others, is truly a craftsman and artisan: roasting, grinding, and tempering chocolate by hand in small batches, and creating a delicious product to share with others.
Select Tasting Notes:
Here are some tasting notes on Moonlight Chocolate bars.
Organic Dark Chocolate (70%) - a nice, lightly tangy dark chocolate. It was smooth and creamy. I have to admit, I ate this one in about 10 minutes.
Organic Dark Chocolate (60%) - This 60% dark chocolate is perfectly balanced for a semi-sweet chocolate. For those who are Lindt chocolate fans, I have to say it would be a step up from Lindt's 'sweet' Swiss Classic dark chocolate bar or the 64% Satin. Mr. Snuggs is applying a 48-hour conche, and including added cocoa butter, thus achieving a very smooth semi-sweet chocolate with a lovely taste.
Although great for tasting, Moonlight 60% chocolate would be wonderful for making smooth truffles or a lovely semi-sweet couverture. And it would also pair wonderfully with a Merlot or Shiraz, and definitely a lovely chocolate to pair with salt (i.e. salted caramel, salted dark chocolate) or coffee (a cup or coffee-flavoured truffles).
Organic Milk (40%) with Coconut Palm Sugar - Mr. Snuggs also makes chocolates sweetened with coconut palm sugar (i.e. no-cane sugar chocolates). The taste of coconut palm sugar is quite distinct in these, which means the chocolate tastes like it is sweetened with brown sugar, and just a hint of coconut flavour. It's nice, and makes a great alternative to chocolate with processed sugars.
Organic Milk Chocolate with Palm Sugar and Crispy Rice - made only with coconut sugar and crispy brown rice pieces, I really enjoyed this one. It was crunchy, fun, sweet, kid-friendly AND has no cane sugar - you can't go wrong with that combination!
55% Organic Dark Milk with Dried Blueberries - very delicious. Some nutty flavour, and some sweetness added by the blueberries. Very smooth texture and a nice mix between dark and milk chocolate.
Organic Dark (70%) with Walnuts, and one with Almonds and Sea Salt: I call these the 'breakfast bars', because who doesn't think dark chocolate with nuts is a healthy way to start the day? I am not usually a walnut fan, but I very much enjoyed the walnut bar.
I am holding on to a few more flavours - including an organic Dark Chocolate (60%) with Almonds and Orange Oil and one with 70% Cocoa solids and Almonds and Toffee - I plan to share these with friends.