Several weeks ago, our marketing team had the chance to tour Escazu, a local, small-batch chocolate company. During our visit, the Co-op learned about Escazu’s unique process for crafting their chocolate.
Escazu began by working with an organic farm in Costa Rica to bring a gourmet chocolate making practice to the States. Today, Escazu produces fine chocolate for restaurants and local retailers throughout the Triangle.
Escazu sources their cocoa beans primarily from Venezuela and other family-owned farms throughout South America. The beans arrive and the sorting process begins, eliminating unusable pieces. Over 250lbs. of cocoa beans are needed for a whole batch, and it takes several hours to sort through enough beans for roasting.
Once the beans are prepped, they are roasted, winnowed, and ground. In order to cater to smaller batch sizes, the beans are processed on turn-of-the-century machines, allowing for truly artisanal chocolate. Unlike most chocolate producers in the States, Escazu roasts their cocoa beans at low temperatures in order to maintain better tracking, avoid over-roasting, and allow for more experimental recipes. The beans are ground for 4 days for ideal flavor and texture. The bean to chocolate process takes one week altogether.
After the beans are ground to a paste, the chocolate ages for one month before being formed into bars. Once the aging process is complete, the bars are packaged and delivered to retailers in the area!
Escazu is located near downtown Raleigh and serves specialty drinks, confections, and novelties in addition to their artisan chocolate bars. Visit the Durham Co-op Market or visit their store to try their products or learn more here!