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Cocoa Hunters In Mexico

Back at the end of February, Brett and Rob headed down to the southern states of Mexico to visit the birthplace of cacao.  They got their hands on some beans from both Chiapas and Tabasco for our third Limited Edition Reserve Collection.

Most of us associate great chocolate with Europe, but the Aztecs were the ones that originally introduced the magic bean to the Spaniards.  To this day, the majority of the cacao grown in Mexico is consumed instead of exported. Cacao is consumed in chocolate bars, in mole, and in a variety of drinks that range from bitter to sweet.  The formula of the drinks vary from region to region. Interestingly, the majority of cacao harvest in Mexico is not fermented.  This gives Mexican chocolate a distinct, earthy flavor.

Enjoy this little video of the trip.  Full recap of the adventures coming soon!

Like it? Love it? Let us know what you think!

XO.

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Hello There, Chocolate Lovers!

Hello there, Chocolate Lovers!

Long time, no see!  Totally our bad.  We have lots of new and exciting things to share with you so we're planning on posting much more regularly.  Let's catch up, shall we?   Here's what's been happening in ChocXO-land: 

New Programs

We've launched two exciting new programs:  ChocXO Reserve and the ChocXO Insiders Club.  

ChocXO Reserve is a way for us to experiment with small batch, single origin chocolate making. Brett and Rob, our resident chocolate experts, have been scouring the globe for interesting beans (more on their adventures later!).  Every two months, we're introducing a new single origin chocolate that's only available for a limited time.  Come into our Irvine factory to try our most recent creations, including bars made from beans from Belize, Haiti and Mexico!  

ChocXO Insiders is the the ultimate chocolate lovers club.  Coinciding with our Reserve releases, the Insiders get to attend special events and parties to celebrate each release.  They also get special discounts, tour tickets and a sneak peak into each Reserve box.  You can join for a half year or a full year.  Email us or come in for more information!

New Products

Our Thins are finally here!  Come in to try our Organic Milk Chocolate + Sea Salt Caramel Thin or our Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt Caramel Thin.  You won't be dissapointed. 

New Babies

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago,  ChocXO was a three man operation.  Employees # 1 and # 2, Robby and Laina, have both recently added little tiny chocolate lovers to their families. William and Wesley come and visit the chocolate factory often, much to the delight of our team.  Welcome ChocXO babies!  

More to Come!

We've got some exciting posts planned including some trip recaps to Mexico and Ecuador.  We'll see you soon!  XO. 

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New Beginnings

Today, we announce our partnership with @HiddenHouseCoffee, who will own and operate our two cafes in Lake Forest and Costa Mesa beginning April 1st. 


We couldn’t have asked for a better partner than Ben Briggs and the Hidden House Coffee Roasters team, whose approach to responsibly sourced coffee beans and quality, small-batch roasting mirrors our own. We know you’ll be in good hands. 


The transition will be as seamless as possible. Although the name will change, Hidden House will carry many of your ChocXO chocolate favorites and continue serve up ChocXO chocolate drinks. ChocXO will honor all gift cards and loyalty points at our Irvine chocolate factory (Irvine Center Drive and Tesla).

As for us, we will be focused on our chocolate line and working on expanding ChocXO retail availability nationwide. We’ll also be expanding our offerings at our chocolate factory in Irvine, including freshly ground nut butter topped with liquid chocolate cups.

From all of us at ChocXO, we sincerely thank you for your support and loyalty. We hope to see you all soon here at our Irvine Chocolate Factory. XO.

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Award Winning Chocolate!

JUNE 30, 2015 (IRVINE, CALIF.) – ChocXO Bean to Bar Chocolatier received 11 medals in the last 24 hours at two major chocolate competitions - the prestigious International Chocolate Awards and the International Chocolate Salon Awards.

 

Competing alongside entries from North and South America at the International Chocolate Awards on June 29, the Orange County company won a bronze medal each for its Camino Verde 72% single origin dark chocolate and the Tres Rios Limited Edition 68% single origin dark chocolate. Both chocolates were recognized in the Plain/Origin Dark Chocolate Bars category and will go on to compete in the World Finals this November.

 

ChocXO Bean to Bar Chocolatier earned an additional nine medals at the International Chocolate Salon Awards, which were announced this morning. Camino Verde 72% earned silver in the categories of Top Chocolate Bar and Best Taste. Fortunato Especial No. 4 80% won bronze medals for Best Taste, Best Texture and Best Dark Chocolate Bar while the Guantupí 75% took silver in the Best Dark Chocolate Bar category. All three of the gold medals were in the category of Best Graphic Design, one medal each for the packaging design on the Camino Verde, Guantupi and Fortunato Especial No. 4 80% chocolate bars.

 

The International Chocolate Awards and the International Chocolate Salon Awards are highly respected competitions created to recognize excellence in fine chocolate. Both competitions are judged by panels of chefs, culinary experts, pastry chefs and food journalists. More information about the competitions and full lists of winners can be found at www.internationalchocolateawards.com and http://www.artisanchocolateawards.com.

 

Boxes of tasting squares and individual 80 gram bars of all the ChocXO award-winning varieties are available at www.chocxo.com.   

 

These 11 new medals join those that ChocXO won earlier this year at the seventh annual Academy of Chocolate Awards. The London-based competition awarded bronze medals to three of the company’s chocolates in the Best Dark Chocolate Bean-to-Bar Under 80% category including the Camino Verde 72% single origin, Guantupí 75% single origin, and the Tres Rios limited edition 68% single origin.

 

About ChocXO Bean to Bar Chocolatier

With factories located in Orange County, California and Delta, B.C., ChocXO is one of the West Coast’s premiere bean to bar chocolate factories.  Using only fine flavor cacao beans, ChocXO combines an artisan approach with sophisticated technology to create one small batch of chocolate at a time. ChocXO is so proud of its process that it offers in-depth tours explaining its entire chocolate-making process beginning with raw cacao beans and ending with bars of smooth, decadent chocolate. Explore the chocolatier’s single origin chocolate bars, delightful truffles, chocolate barks, gifts and other chocolate treats at the factory and retail store located at 9461 Irvine Center Drive in Irvine, California. For hours, tour bookings, café locations, online shopping and more, please visit www.chocxo.com.

 

 

 

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New Colombia Pitalito Supremo Is Here!!

If you go into one of our coffee shops this week you may notice that there is a new addition to the coffee menu.... Yes! Our new Colombian is here This coffee is exceptionally rich and deep bodied with caramel, honey and citrus notes. Please here for more information.

Specialty Coffee?

Here at ChocXO we only source, roast and serve specialty coffee. There is a huge difference between specialty coffee and commodity coffee, at every stage of the coffees journey from seed to cup. 

According to SCAA definitions, specialty coffee “refers to the highest quality green coffee beans roasted to their greatest flavor potential by true craftspeople and then properly brewed to well-established SCAA developed standards.” 

An exceptional coffee can be severely tainted by poor farming, harvesting, processing, transporting, storing, roasting, grinding, brewing or serving. Even a coffee that makes it all the way to the Barista in optimum condition can still produce a low scoring cup.

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Cool New Packaging Is On The Way!

As well as new coffee bags we have new labels to go on them! They are also carefully and artfully designed to work in multiple ways. They will enhance the look of the new bags and give much clearer, detailed information on the coffee inside. Complete with origin maps, origin stories, flavor notes, taste profiles, altitudes, grades and more!

Look out for these at you local ChocXO location!

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New Member To The Team!

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New Member To The Team!

We now have a new team member in the Coffee Department here at ChocXO! Our new sample roaster (yet to be named)! It's her first day today and we are excited to see how she does. 

This will give us more flexibility in the coffees we sample and buy, plus a lot more control over our roasting profiles and blending options. 

I know.... our new range of coffee options already puts us ahead of the game, just imagine how great it's going to be! 

Back with more news once she has gotten used to her new surroundings!

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From Farm To Bar-Single Origin Chocolate Explained

Madagascar, Ecuador, Ghana, Papua New Guinea – chocolate bars come from all over the globe.

Some are made in the country of origin, others made right here in the USA.

More and more frequently, you'll be hearing the phrase "single origin" in reference to chocolate. So what does this mean and what is it all about?

Take a wine from a Napa estate versus an everyday table wine. Then take a chocolate off the grocery store shelf and put it next to a single origin. That is the difference we're talking about.

Single origin chocolates are made from cocoa beans from a single farm, producer, cooperative, or small region, akin to a fine wine made from select grapes from a specific vineyard.  And your everyday table wine is made from grapes that could be from just about anywhere, just like your everyday chocolate, made from beans that could be a blend of beans from different countries and locations. 

Just as single estate vineyards put the utmost into getting the best wine from their grapes, great care and attention is put into harvesting, fermenting, and properly roasting single origin beans to make the best chocolate, 

Chocxo imports its own beans and makes its chocolate here in Irvine, CA and we are focussed on producing unique single origin chocolates. You can even come tour our factory, learn about every step of the process, and taste our chocolate before buying.

Right now, we are producing three different bars from Ecuador, and we'll provide more information about each producer we get our beans from in future posts! So continue to follow us on our journey through different origins and check back in soon. 

 

 

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Cane Sugar Only!

Alternative Sweeteners-The New Healthy Trend

Agave, palm sugar, maple sugar...the alternative sweeteners trend is big right now. Orthorexia is the new eating disorder-a fixation on healthy eating, but to the detriment of your health. We're constantly on the lookout for guilt-free foods that carry no mental weight.

Low glycemic index, better for you, less calories. We love healthy eating as much as you do, but it's not necessary to take it to the extreme.

And that's just one reason we stick to good old fashioned cane sugar.

Because we're all about the chocolate, the chocolate flavor, that is. And there is more to it than that.

Alternative sweeteners also would affect all of our recipes.

How we producer our chocolate would be affected by changes in density, viscosity, and the way the chocolate and sweetener behaves in our equipment. So we won't even go into how complicated it would make things.

Why Sugar is Good

If it's not sugar, any other sweetener will adulterate the chocolate's true flavor, whereas cane sugar is still the purest sweetener out there.

We put a lot of effort into getting the best beans, and we want their flavors to shine. Cane sugar is the only sugar that enhances chocolate, without taking anything away.

All our single origin chocolates are dark chocolates as well, never containing more than 30% sugar, with the exception of our Tres Rios Limited Edition bar at 68%.

So to stay health, stick with dark chocolate. It provides many potential health benefits, including decreased risk of stroke and heart attack, weight loss, diabetes prevention, and improved skin and mood.

What Do You Think?

Let us know what you think of our chocolate, and if you use or prefer some other type of sweetener, please let us know in the comments below. 

 

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Let's Start With The Bean

Jeff Stern at Hacienda Limon, Ecuador

Welcome to Chocxo! My name is Jeff Stern and I do the chocolate making at Chocxo. 

Through our blog, we'll tell you all about how we make our chocolate, answer your questions, and help you develop your expertise in chocolate, so follow us here.

Let's start at the beginning - the beginning of chocolate, that is.

It all starts with the bean. 

Chocxo is all about beans, and quality ones. We focus on using only fine flavor cacao in our chocolate. What is fine flavor cacao? 

Well, there is no strict scientific definition, but in basic terms, it comes primarily from Latin America and the Caribbean (and a little from Madagascar). It's not your everyday cacao that comes primarily from Africa and Asia-the stuff that goes into your average chocolate bar.

Fine flavor beans make up only about 5% of world cacao production, and is distinguished by its distinct flavors-providing less deep chocolate flavor than you'll find in everyday chocolate, but more floral and fruity notes, as well as other hints of flavors you won't find elsewhere.  Many of the varietals that make up fine flavor beans are more prone to disease and lower-yielding than bulk cacao varietals.  

We pay substantially more than market or Fair Trade Price for our beans. That's because we work directly with cacao farmers, cooperatives, and producers to get the best quality-and go direct to the source. We don't use brokers or buy from a third party.

To make the best of the beans, we focus on single origin chocolate, which means we don't blend or mix our beans with lower grade beans. 

Look for our new first run of single origin bars from Ecuador coming soon. And check back here for more chocolate news and information soon!

 

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