There’s something to be said for a half melted gas station Hershey’s chocolate bar. It’s one of those treats that you discover right when you think there’s nothing sweet left in this world. A convenient delight.
And then there’s a hand-crafted chocolate bar — made by a professional who studied the art of chocolate making, instructing Patisserie students, even, at Le Cordon Bleu in London — with cocoa beans sourced from Asia, Africa, and Central America. Sound like a faraway fantasy? Well, come Friday, Feb. 9, you can experience high quality chocolate, chocolate that “has not really been known before,” at the KTChEN Tasting Room in North Charleston.
“We taste chocolate almost like we would taste wine or coffee,” says Cocoa Academic owner and chocolatier Bethany Nunn. Originally from Scotland, Nunn has been working in the chocolate industry for nine years. She discovered “bean to bar” chocolate making in 2012, and started Cocoa Academic in 2016.
“The whole bean to bar movement is quite new,” says Nunn. “Really the last five to 10 years … the process of chocolate making, when I first started, was so hidden by really large corporations. Small companies have been able to take chocolate making into their own hands. Farmers can have a better price for beans, and sustainable practices, cutting out the middlemen. From the sourcing side we’re able to make really refined chocolate.”
While Nunn’s longterm goal is to open a “bean to bar” academy in the Lowcountry, for now she’s happy to host tastings at KTCHeN. The $25 hour and a half tasting (book your spot on Feb. 9 or Feb. 10) will include more than 20 unique chocolates to taste, plus a tasting of the company’s “instant coaffee” made with 100 percent cocoa beans and hot water, and their cocoa husk tea, made with 100 percent roasted cocoa husk shells.
“We will taste every chocolate for a specific reason,” says Nunn. “They’re [the participants] learning through their taste buds.”
Can’t wait til Februrary to get your cocoa on? Order the cocoa tea — using the roasted husk is part of Cocoa Academic’s “no waste” initiative as the husk would usually be tossed — and for every bag sold, the company will donate a meal to Lowcountry Food Bank. In Dec. 2017 they donated 800 meals. Yes, 800. Now that’s pretty sweet.