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Southern California loves Fine Chocolate, but do we understand ‘Bean to Bar’? Honeymoon Chocolates Cam Loyet explains

Chocolate fans, Do You Understand ‘Bean to Bar’ ? Honeymoon Chocolates Cam Loyet explains it

Honeymoon Chocolates was founded in a dorm room back in 2016 making bean-to-bar craft chocolate sweetened solely with raw honey.

Years later, bean to bar is only getting more popular.  But what does it actually mean? Do you know where to go?  What to look for or ask for?

 

So we asked Cam Loyet from Honeymoon Chocolates

What does “Bean to Bar” Craft chocolate mean?  Is it as simple as a one sentence answer?  Or Is it more complicated?

 

It’s far more complicated.  In itself, it’s a little bit selfish in my opinion.  There’s a lot of benefit employing those who work in origin to also manufacture the chocolate. That’s something that we’d be interested in down the road. We just can’t afford it so right now we take all the effort, all the energy and time to do it here in St. Louis. 

 

It’s a really fun process. But you do end up taking a lot of the credit where the credit isn’t necessarily due. A lot of the credits due for the fine cocoa farmers at origin.

 

Can you walk me through the basic concept?

 

So in our industry it’s wherever you receive the dry, unfermented cocoa beans. and you roast them.  What you’re doing is crafting this flavor and you’re manufacturing a product that otherwise wouldn’t wouldn’t necessarily exist. 

 

If you have the ability to roast [in-house] and you start [you’re own manufacturing process] ]there, you’re ‘bean to bar’.

 

It just gives a little bit more local sense to chocolate. Whenever you open up a bar, and you don’t know where it’s manufactured and how it’s manufactured, you lose a bit of that local sense. It becomes more of a global or nationwide feel.

 

l got it.  So the beans come from somewhere else, they arrive under your roof and the manufacturing process happens under your roof. So beans come in and a bar comes out, but it all happens under the same roof.

 

Yes.  And it’s traceable.  That’s also very important.

 

So when I’m at a Whole Foods, or any high-end retail groceries, there are many craft chocolate bars.  What am I looking for to know the difference?

 

I love the idea of when a consumer looks at a list of 9 bars, they instantly go ‘is it a dark, milk or or white.  If it’s dark, what percentage do I like?’

 

It starts with, what percentage do they like? And then from there you go into this dialogue with the consumer when they try your product. 

But it really does start with what the consumer likes. You can’t necessarily force an 85% bar onto a consumer that enjoys white chocolate. 

But you look at the ingredients on them. There are some good makers that use Lecithin just because it makes the product easier to work with, but it does make it less of a clean label product. So you look at the clean label from nutrition. 

You are gonna look and see if it’s single origin to check to see where the cocoa comes from. Just because it does highlight the farmers’ work a little bit more. There’s some big makers that combine origins because they have more of a fruity flavor versus a more chocolate-forward cocoa bean. So then they combine them. But I do find that it kind of does take away from the efforts that do happen earlier on in the supply chain.

 

Thank you, Cam.  

Visits Honeymoon Chocolates at: https://hmchocolates.com 

On Instagram, at: www.instagram.com/honeymoonchocolates

On Facebook, at: https://www.facebook.com/honeymoonchocolates

 

 

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Secret of Caesar salad: John Robert Sutton Reveals on “Foods That Matter” Podcast

Secret of Caesar salad: John Robert Sutton Reveals on “Foods That Matter” Podcast

The Caesar salad was NOT invented in Italy!

The iconic dish, celebrating its 100th birthday this year, has roots in Tijuana, Mexico.

Foods That Matter John Robert Sutton

Foods ThatMatter John Robert Sutton

To celebrate, podcast host of CurtCo Media’s Foods That Matter and seasoned food archaeologist John Robert Sutton joined Juan José “Tana” Plascencia, the owner of Caesar’s Restaurant – home of the first Caesar salad – in person.

To eat some original recipe salad and chat about how, why, where, and by whom the dish came to be one of the most popular menu items in the US.

John and Tana’s intriguing conversation, starting with the recipe’s origins and ending with its worldwide prominence, is available on Foods That Matter on all major podcast platforms. You get a firsthand look at the backstory of Caesar salad, delving into all the rich flavors and history that made it such an important influence in the dining world.

Near or visiting Tijuana?

Join Tana at the centennial celebration at Caesar’s Restaurant on July 7, 2024. Plus, if you tell Tana that you listened to this episode of Foods That Matter – Celebrating 100 Years of Caesar Salad with the Origin Story that Starts in Tijuana, Mexico – he will give you the authentic recipe to take home!

About Foods That Matter:
Come along for a culinary thrill as Foods That Matter transports foodies to corners of the world through stories of adventure with food archeologist John Robert Sutton, also known as ‘The Indiana Jones of Food.’

John unlocks the secrets to the globe’s extraordinary cuisines, as he’s been doing throughout his travels in over 120 countries while enriching top grocery stores and Michelin-starred chefs with the finest ingredients and powering them with quality products.

The presenting sponsor of Foods That Matter is Watkins, award-winning extracts, spices & herbs, seasoning blends, grilling rubs & marinades, artificial dye-free baking decorations, and more crafted in the USA since 1868. The show is available on podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, SpotifyYouTube and Goodpods.

About CurtCo Media:
CurtCo Media – with its talented producers and creative team – provides listeners with quality podcasts, featuring authoritative hosts, distinguished guests, and inspiring storytellers. The company presents many nationally-recognized series, covering topics such as scripted sci-fi (SOLAR), luxury (Cars That MatterTravel That Matters, Wines That Matter) and others.

Nén Danang Awarded 2024 MICHELIN Green Star for Sustainability

Nén Danang Awarded 2024 MICHELIN Green Star for Sustainability

At the prestigious MICHELIN Awards Ceremony held at the InterContinental Hotel Saigon, a notable achievement was celebrated within the realm of sustainable gastronomy: Nén Danang, a pioneer in Vietnam’s fine dining scene, was honored with the 2024 MICHELIN Green Star for Excellence in Sustainability. As the first Vietnamese restaurant in the world to be recognized, as well as the first in Vietnam, this accolade underscores Nén’s commitment to innovative and environmentally conscious practices that set a benchmark for the industry.

The Michelin Green Star, a prestigious annual award, celebrates restaurants leading the industry in sustainability. Highlighting establishments that uphold rigorous ethical and environmental standards, this accolade recognizes those who collaborate with sustainable producers and suppliers to minimize waste and reduce or eliminate plastics and other non-recyclable materials. To date, only 540 restaurants worldwide have earned this honor, offering dining experiences that not only exemplify culinary excellence but also demonstrate exceptional eco-friendly practices. These restaurants serve as beacons of inspiration for both enthusiastic foodies and the broader hospitality industry.

Nén Danang, under the visionary leadership of Chef Summer Le and her partner Leon Le, has been instrumental in redefining what it means to dine sustainably. With a culinary philosophy deeply rooted in the principles of ethical and environmental stewardship, Nén sources 99% of its ingredients locally, including from its own farms, thereby supporting Vietnam’s local economies and artisans while minimizing environmental impact. This approach not only ensures the freshest ingredients but also fosters a strong connection with the community and the natural world.

The restaurant’s Sto:ry Menus exemplify this ethos, merging rich Vietnamese traditions with inventive dining experiences. Each dish is a celebration of nature and a narrative of culture, crafted to offer a multi-sensory delight that evokes emotions ranging from joy to nostalgia. Notably, their Sto:ry Menu #5 is a zero-waste venture that transforms everyday ingredients, such as eggshells into noodles, showcasing an innovative approach to sustainability.

The core of Nén’s culinary identity lies in its commitment to ‘Conscious Vietnamese cuisine.’ The restaurant’s ethos—origin, aesthetic, intention, balance, emotion, and presence—guides its culinary choices. Each aspect, from the sourcing of ingredients to the final presentation, is thoughtfully curated to enhance the dining experience, making every meal an event of conscious consumption and enjoyment.

Nén’s unique approach to cuisine also reflects in its name, derived from a humble but flavorful ingredient found in Central Vietnam’s kitchens. This reflects the restaurant’s philosophy: finding potential in the overlooked and elevating it to something extraordinary. It’s about transforming simplicity into splendor, turning each meal into an exploration of the hidden depths of Vietnamese culinary traditions.

Located next to Nén Farm in Da Nang, the restaurant serves as the flagship for a brand that is deeply invested in research and sustainability. Despite challenges like a temporary closure during the Covid-19 pandemic, Nén Danang reopened in 2023 with renewed vigor and a continued focus on its sustainable mission. This commitment culminated in receiving Vietnam’s first and only MICHELIN Green Star in 2024, a testament to its leadership in promoting a sustainable and ethically aware dining culture.

Through Nén Danang, diners are invited not just to eat, but to experience stories through flavors, where each dish serves as a dialogue between the chef and the earth, a narrative that continues to inspire both food enthusiasts and culinary peers around the world.

 

WeHo’s Newest culinary experience: Blue Birdy Gastropub Opens on Sunset Strip Near legendary Whiskey A-Go-Go

Sunset Strip’s Blue Birdy Gastropub Opens Near legendary Whiskey A-Go-Go

Located two doors down from the legendary Whiskey A-Go-Go is a brand-new culinary experience.

Blue Birdy offers up some super tasty gastropub fare on the iconic Sunset Strip.

Blue Birdy opened its doors to amazing success in early 2024, due largely to its chef and owner JC Mahdavi.

JC is no stranger to success since he’s been in the restaurant business, having owned Joxer Daly’s in Culver City for many years. His formula is great food mixed with solid cocktail recipes. Joxer Daly’s is an Irish Pub/Sports Bar with a neighborhood feel, a true staple in the culinary landscape of Los Angeles.

He brings that same philosophy to Blue Birdy but with more of an upscale vibe.

Blue Birdy has a French-influenced menu. JC implements his family’s recipes, hailing from France, he knows what good mouthwatering food is and how to create it.

“I want my customers to feel comfortable at Blue Birdy,

a place that they can come to and leave the stress of their day behind,

enjoy great libations and wonderfully inspired gastropub cuisine.”

owner JC Mahdavi

Blue Birdy’s menu includes a wonderful specialty cocktail program, all made from scratch.

The Boom Ba Da packs a nice punch, with its smooth lemon flavor and gorgeous presentation.

Strawberry Fields is a nice refreshing blend of champagne vodka and strawberry puree, almost like a smoothy but with a nice marriage of citrus essences, which has a great mouth feel. Brunch items are huge and super tasty.

Their French Toast is unlike any other, with ube, cream cheese, and sugar-filled, it’s purple and really is amazing. The Short Rib Benedict is comfort brunch at its best, a must-try.

Their Noodle Salad is perfect for the health-conscious diner as well as their tempura asparagus. Entree menu items include Lemon Herb Chicken, Steak and Fries, Fish & Chips, Teriyaki Salmon, and lots of Burgers – all simply delectable.

Whatever you order, you too will be surprised at how great their food is.

The sparkling interior gives you an elegant hipster vibe.  The subtle blue flowers that adorn the overhead light fixtures really create a cool, sensual feeling.

Striations of blue linear lines are part of the overall flooring. Highlighted on one wall is a floor-to-ceiling LED flat-screen TV wall, that is guaranteed to bring in many sports fans for those big-ticket games, with many additional screens both inside and out.

Blue Birdy can accommodate inside seating as well as a front street-level patio and a back patio for more of a secluded experience, it’s the perfect spot for a private party.

There are plans for different themed nights. So far, Tropical Thursdays are guaranteed to get your Salsa on. Friday will be dress-up Drag Night, and Saturday is Shabhaye Tehran-LA. With all of the viewing opportunities, any night or day is a sports theme, but whatever the occasion, Blue Birdy will make your Sunset Strip experience one to remember.

 

About the Author
Joe Wehinger (nicknamed Joe Winger) has written for over 20 years about the business of lifestyle and entertainment. Joe is an entertainment producer, media entrepreneur, public speaker, and C-level consultant who owns businesses in entertainment, lifestyle, tourism and publishing. He is an award-winning filmmaker, published author, member of the Directors Guild of America, International Food Travel Wine Authors Association, WSET Level 2 Wine student, WSET Level 2 Cocktail student, member of the LA Wine Writers. Email to: Joe@FlavRReport.com

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