“Bean-to-bar? I have no idea what that is. I just want to eat great chocolate. I don’t understand when you tell me bean-to-bar, and I don’t care.”
This is what I have to fight every day.
The struggle is real, and it drives me nuts!
What my stubborn interlocutor doesn’t understand is that great chocolate IS bean-to-bar before being anything else. How could it be otherwise? And for a ‘purist’ like him that buys only organic and gives his kids only the healthiest foods, bean-to-bar chocolate should sound like heaven on Earth. Instead NO! The taste buds are all that matters, and everybody wants to satisfy them quickly and effortlessly. Well, I am so sorry to disappoint you, but you are not going to find great chocolate without research.
Like you are not going to taste great wines without some basic knowledge of the finest brands. Like you are not going to have a great deal on your next house if you don’t know the current prices on the market. Like you are not going to enjoy modern art if you have no clue about the message behind it. To discover the great and fine things in life there are no shortcuts. We have to make our homework.
It’s not like I can really blame him though. I honestly have no clue where coffee comes from. But at least, if somebody came up to me to tell me about fine bean-to-cup coffee, I’d be listening.
So if only he listened to me, I’d tell him 10 indisputable good reasons to buy bean-to-bar chocolate.
Whenever you buy bean-to-bar chocolate, YOU:
- Eat organic – Most bean-to-bar chocolate brands are USDA Organic certified. The rest is mostly organic itself anyway with no need of certifications. Artisan chocolate makers not only partner with small cocoa farmers that are usually too poor to afford pesticides and chemical herbicides, but they are so fanatic about pure fine cocoa that God forbid they want to deal with GMO cacao.
- Get the real deal – Bean-to-bar chocolate is usually made out of maximum 5 ingredients depending on the flavors chosen. Most of the time it is only cacao beans, sugar and cacao butter. There you get to try REAL CHOCOLATE where cacao beans are kings. The furthest thing from that sugary mass of chemical ingredients and artificial flavors that multinationals got you addicted to for so many years.
- Support cacao farmers in developing countries – Artisan bean-to-bar chocolate makers take pride in paying a premium price to the cocoa farmers they collaborate with. Farmers operating in developing countries are paid a higher price than the one a multinational company or a middleman would pay, so that they are not only stimulated to be more accurate in the production of their cocoa beans and prefer quality over quantity, but can also take care of their families, don’t feel the need to get involved with child slavery and can live a better life. Most companies have also many projects and initiatives that don’t involve only the production of cacao, but that aim to improve the lifestyle of an entire community. Every time you look up the website of artisanal chocolate makers, make sure to check out also the section regarding their social initiatives. I bet 4 out of 5 have one.
- Are trendy – If you keep yourself updated with the latest news from the Chocolate Industry, you already know that artisan bean-to-bar chocolate is a booming market. No week passes by without 2 to 3 articles about the success of bean-to-bar chocolate being published. It is becoming popular, and you shouldn’t miss the chance to jump on such a healthy bandwagon.
- Involve all the 5 senses – If you believe that chocolate is all and only about the palate, you are not the one to blame. Hershey, Mars and Nestlè have probably raised you that way since you were a child trapped in their advertising clutch. We have all been there. And as I explain in The 7 Deadly Sins of Chocolate Lovers, there is redemption for everyone. Bean-to-bar chocolate will instead make you want to undress it and touch it. To look through its beautiful shades of chocolate. To hear its sound when turned into pieces. To get inebriated by its artisan smell. And to finally get to try an authentic texture and an infinite scale of flavors in just one bite. Can you imagine anything more romantic?
- Preserve fine cacao – The more fine chocolate gets bought, the more effort will be made to maintain a steady supply of fine cacao. Expensive researches, cacao preservation initiatives, long trips in the places of origin. All of these will make much more sense (and will be more easily funded) with a high demand for fine chocolate to support them. Basically you are donating your money to endangered cacao species.
- Can get a chocolate factory tour – After reading point 9 of this list, you will excuse chocolate makers for being a little bit narcissist. You also want to forgive them for wanting to show off the production process behind their creations. Especially if this means hosting factory tours that give you the chance to see with your eyes how chocolate is made, to know where it comes from, its history, curiosities, mysteries, anecdotes. The best experience for children and adults to be aware chocolate consumers.
- Get the best with less – You can often hear the comparison between chocolate and wine regarding prices. The worst and the finest bottle of wine can be divided by an incredible amount of money as high as $300 or more. You can get instead the finest chocolate bars on the market for as low as $15. Isn’t it only $14 away from a $1 Hershey “chocolate” bar? Bean-to-bar chocolate stores are the most affordable fine food stores you can ever find. Therefore, it makes NO SENSE to be cheap about it and miss the chance to try the best chocolate in the World.
- Help passionate artisans – Chocolate has always been associated with pleasure and fun. And chocolate makers are surely putting a lot of both. But trust me if I tell you that making chocolate is a freaking hard job! These people have to fly across the World to find the right cacao, to establish trustworthy relationships with cacao farmers and to plan the entire supply chain properly. And this is before cacao beans even enter the factory! Like for every artisan, precision and patience are keys in trying to achieve the best chocolate possible. Only true passion and the infinite drive to supply chocolate aficionados with great products can make them go through so many difficulties. Lets show some gratitude!
- Spend your money well – For all these reasons, I believe that TRUE chocolate lovers are the ones that always carry their conscience inside the wallet. And won’t miss the chance to pay homage to the great art of chocolate making.
What are YOUR indisputable good reasons to buy bean-to-bar chocolate?
I did NOT get paid and did NOT receive any kind of favor for writing this article. These are my honest opinions at your service.