It All Starts with the Bean!
We begin by searching the globe to find some of the world’s rarest most premium cacao beans, beans that have been harvested in the wild or grown by farmers that have chosen to use organic, sustainable farming methods.
Within hours of harvest the cacao beans collected are fermented in wooden boxes or piles on the ground covered in leaves. This process halts germination and helps to develop the beans flavor.
Dedicated farmers and wild crafters take the time to find the perfect fermentation for each different kind of bean that they work with shaping its unique flavor and creating for us a starting point down the path of flavor development. This is a key step that each farmer must take to create a premium bean. After the 3-8 day fermentation process the beans are spread out in the sun to dry naturally.
Once completely dried, by the magical rays of the sun, these beans are bagged and shipped to our facility at Starchild Chocolate located here in beautiful Mendocino County.
The founders and artisans of Starchild Chocolate are always exited to receive their new shipments of precious cargo. At this point the beans are inspected to assure premium quality and added to the storage facilities where they await the next step of the process, the creation of chocolate. From here we take the time to carefully clean and remove any debris such as sticks, twigs and small stones. We hand select only the very best beans removing flat and small ones that might impart unpleasant flavor notes. The cacao is the premier star in this process and taking the time to select and use only the most premium bean is a good start in achieving a quality end product.
According to the bean’s origin Starchild Chocolate makers will roast each bean in its own way to unmask specific flavors hidden within it. Each bean has a “sweet spot” and through the roasting process we look to achieve the perfect balance where all the flavors come together.
After roasting, the beans go to the cracker and winnowing machine where they are broken down to nib and the husk is removed. Only then do we have the gold, pure cacao nib.
Starchild artisans will then add the nibs to their stone grinders and start the refining process which can take up to 5 days or more depending on how it is done. It is near the end of this stage when the sweetness of Coconut blossom sugar is added. When the particle size of the liquor (liquified ground nib and sugar) is sufficient, the chocolate will go into the mechanical conch for flavor and texture development. Originally, conches were long stone receptacles in which the chocolate mass was pushed back and forth usually for a period of days. The process takes its name from conch shells, which the receptacles resembled in shape. With modern conches, such as Starchild’s in house conch, the chocolate is treated with a combination of heat and regulated motion to remove off flavors and develop a desired texture.
After our chocolate passes all the tests in regards to flavor and texture the chocolate liquor is added to the tempering machine, tempered and graciously poured into our custom Starchild Chocolate molds. The tempering process is important as it develops desired crystals which help it to hold up to the heat, give it good snap, a nice shine and proper mouth feel.
With this rich base, Starchild Chocolatiers craft a variety of chocolate bars each carrying its own unique artisan flavor. With fanatical detail to the character of the ingredients: Chocolate, Coconut blossom sugar and in some cases Vanilla and an array of fruits, nuts and spices we do our best to create a product that even the most discerning tastebuds will enjoy.
Enjoy the world class deep smooth flavor of Starchild Chocolate today. Where will your favorite nib come from?