Episode 23: Cocoa Innovation with Susan Brown Beekeeper & Chocolate Crafter of Mademoiselle Miel
Description: As part of a mini-series on innovation in cocoa and craft chocolate, I interview Susan Brown artist and creator of Mademoiselle Miel. After ditching processed sugar from her life decades ago, she sought to replicate her favorite recipes with pure honey. When demand outpaced supply, she undertook another challenge; acquire bees and beehives and supply her own honey for her production. Since 2011, Mademoiselle Miel has continued to incorporate beauty, art, and support local ecosystems, as well as educating on the benefits of bees and (ethical) cacao in our lives. Susan and her shop are based in Saint Paul, Minnesota; where she is inspired by upbringing, her natural surroundings, and collaborative community.
Off the record Susan told me; "All I know for sure is that we need to take care of each other, and we need to take care of the bees, and that chocolate tastes good." But she had a lot more interesting things to say in the podcast, so have a listen!
Themes discussed in this episode of Well Tempered, the podcast about the smart, crafty, and creative women in chocolate:
- Developing skills and interests at a young age and the quest or roles of parents/adults to push them forward
- A desired diet null of processed sugars & how a honey filled bonbon launched a chocolate (and honey!) company
- Tasting and pairing honey from the hive
- The importance of place for your business; what that means as far as geography, spirit, and mind
- The use of and power of words, e.g. from Susan's 'Garbage Collection,' a set of bonbons utilizing foodstuff that others may consider 'scraps' or 'trash' and how her clients might respond to the name/concept/taste
- What if consumers were considered appreciators?
- Finding a mentor in beekeeping
- Transformation and the act of change
Bees - how cool!
- Roughly 60,000 bees per hive working together for one purpose; the eusocial society
- Incredibly adaptable, they change roles (foragers, cleaners, nurses, guards, etc.) throughout their six week lifespan
- A honeybee will produce 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey during their life
Once a hot spot for honeybees, the Northern Great Plains offers less wildflowers/food via NYT
The Walker Art Center / Contemporary Art Museum in Minneapolis
Mademoiselle Miel's pieces of innovation:
- 100% single origin cacao enrobed bonbons with local honey collected on-site
- Using urban centers as honeybee sanctuaries; they works with 30 hives on 6 various downtown rooftops
- Included in her business plan is a section on 'Artistry' to be continuously reminded that it is a tenet of her daily work
Where to find Mademoiselle Miel:
Mademoiselle Miel website & online shop. Find Honey Bon-bons and Maple Sweetened Bean to Bar Chocolate at many fine retailers in Minnesota and Sugar Rush Sweet Shoppe in Irvine, Californa.
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