In the past few months I have visited with a few bean to bar chocolate makers and one thing that impresses me is the care and dedication shown throughout the entire process.
Last week, I was visiting with Art Pollard of Amano Chocolates and I could not believe the personal touch he added to every step of the chocolate making process. I was with him while he roasted beans, winnowed them, added them in the melangeur and was refining them also. Each step of the way was so exacting. The beans had to be roasted to just the right degree and when that was achieved it was a mad dash to get them out and cooled so they were just perfect. Then in the winnowing step making sure that it was excellent with almost no husk.
After this we walked to the area where the real magic happens. When I walked into the room, the aroma of the Madagascar bean that he was processing at the time was amazing. Art recently got a new melangeur that is very large and when he added the nibs it was fun to see how easily it turned it to liquor. Then when he was refining the chocolate, it was the same, they reached the precise point and he turned off the machine, content that he had just achieved the exact level he was looking for.
It was also fun to see that, even though he does this every day, he still loves making chocolate. It is a science, an art and, most importantly, a passion.