This afternoon, my local library hosted a talk with one of the founders of Mindo Chocolate Makers. They are one of the most unique chocolate makers in the country. They over see the process of making chocolate from beginning to end. This means starting with the cocoa beans. They get these directly from Ecuador. Ecuador is known for growing some of the best cocoa beans in the world. Mindo strives to get the best beans in the world. Most cocoa beans come from hybrid trees that were engineered to produce a greater number of pods that are easier to reach. But these trees don't produce the highest quality beans. Sadly most companies strives to have the best bottom line. Mindo strives to have the best tasting chocolate.
Making chocolate, especially on a small scale is a true labor of love. To even get the beans ready they need to be fermented, dried, and roasted. Mindo oversees all of these steps to be sure they are done right. Some farmers don't ferment the beans long enough or they dry them on along side the road, where any stray animal can walk right through. Once the beans are ready, they make the journey from Mindo, Educador to Dexter, Michigan, where the final products are prepared. They offer several different products to purchase in stores in the Ann Arbor area and other parts of Michigan as well as their online store. Here is a list of some of what they offer: chocolate bars (67%, 77%, espresso, hazelnut), natural cocoa powder, cocoa beans, baking chocolate, and cocoa nibs.
One the most admirable traits about Mindo Chocolate Makers is that aren't trying to be consistent. Beans harvested during different times of year may taste different. The difference in the flavors are meant to be enjoyed and appreciated and they see that. Most companies want to produce an experience that is the same every time out. You know when you are going to McDonald's you will get that same tasting disgusting burger every time out or when you buy a Hershey's bar, it's always the same. Mindo chcolate may not always taste exactly the same but you will know you are getting the best quality chocolate experience possible at that time.
As you can see I have a lot of great things to say about Mindo and if you have the chance give their chocolate a try. Now you make look at the price and think, wow, that's expensive. But think of this way, when you buy some cheap chocolate, you usually eat more of it. You are looking to be satisfied so you eat more and more until in one day you plowed through a huge Hershey's bar or an entire bag of M&M's. This chocolate is so rich and delicious that you will be satisfied with just a few bites. I think you can easily spend the same amount of money on cheap name brand chocolate over the course of week that you spend on a single Mindo bar that you enjoyed slowly over that same time. Not to mention you are buying from a company that is trying to make the best chocolate, not looking for record 3rd quarter profits.