|"Cacao doesn't grow in Georgia's climate. But, if it did, I'm sure Xocolatl would buy it here. They support ATL biz!"|
|Stacks of freshly made chocolate bars waiting to be hand-wrapped.|
Elaine, who is a mommy herself to 5-year-old Ronan and 2-year-old Evabelle, was an extremely patient and gracious host to us, and it was clear she could tell us everything we needed to know about chocolate. The first thing she did was give us a tour of the micro chocolate factory, along with a really easy-to-follow description of how Xocolatl's chocolate is made. She explained that cacao beans are the key ingredient of chocolate. Cacao beans are the seeds of the cacao fruit. Most parts of a cacao fruit are edible, including the white flesh of the fruit, which Elaine said has a tropical flavor sort of like pineapple. And the edible parts are, in fact, quite healthy - especially the raw cacao beans, which Elaine told us are high in antioxidants and flavonoids. Elaine showed us the huge bags of cacao beans Xocolatl orders from exotic places like Costa Rica, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Trinidad, and Madagascar. She shelled and let us try some of the raw cacao beans and even let us inhale the lovely scent wafting from the burlap bags.
|"This has to be what Heaven smells like!"|
|"But can we eat it yet?"|
Once they have their supply of cacao beans, Elaine's team sorts through them, selecting only quality beans for their chocolate. They then roast the selected beans to enhance the cacao's chocolatey flavors while burning off sour flavors the beans may acquire through fermentation. After roasting the beans, the Xocolatl team cracks them using a machine with a hand crank. The cracking process helps turn the cacao beans into cocoa nibs that are used to make chocolate. Elaine and her team were nice enough to let us crack a few beans ourselves. That was surprisingly tough! We're thinking folks who crack cacao beans all day probably don't have to lift weights much...
|"Okay, it's time to show Ms. Elaine what these biceps can do."|
|"Must. Not. Spill."|
|Cocoatown grindeur made in Roswell, GA, filled with gallons of chocolate.|
|Some of the locally sourced ingredients that Xocolatl uses for its chocolate bars.|
Local suppliers include Caffe Campesino (coffee) and Kirsten Farms (peaches, pecans).
|Each almond is artfully placed by hand onto each bar.|
We love hearing stories like Elaine and Matt's. And we love seeing how their story unfolds every day and intertwines with similar stories of Atlanta business owners who, like Elaine and Matt, pursued their dreams and became entrepreneurs. Thanks, Xocolatl, for being such an inspiration, for supporting other ATL businesses, and for providing our community with such yummy, wholesome chocolate to enjoy. We wish you much success!
|"This was the best Toddler Foodie outing ever Thanks, Xocolatl!'|
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