Meet the only women in the U.S. to be making chocolate from the bean.

Kristen Hard (pictured far right) is the owner and creative visionary of Cacao Atlanta.  She began as a chocolatier, making confections and desserts from chocolate that had already been made.  After visiting the Caribbean and talking with the local women about the cacao pods found there, Kristen decided to try her hand at creating the chocolate that she used in her truffles and bars.  It was a success!  Currently, the ladies of Cacao are grinding the "hispañola bean" from the Dominican Republic and the "patanemo bean" from Venezuela.  Kristen travels down to the individual plantations so that she can do direct trade with the farmers and discuss the process and quality of the beans that she will be using.  After grinding, Cacao often uses locally sourced fruits and nuts to sweeten the deal.

Known as the "true southern bean to bar chocolate," the ladies of Cacao Atlanta can be found in their chocolate-dusted lab coats like scientists scurrying around their sacchariferous laboratoire.  These chocolate lady scientists boast that their "Old World- New World aesthetic will transport you in one bite to a French apothecary and in another bite to the charming South where the integrity of the cocoa bean lies above all."

Okay so who is ready to take a road trip to South to fill up on sweet tea and chocolate????

Pretty darn special group of gals if you ask me!

 

photos courtesy of Cacao Atlanta.

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