Episode 3: Setting the Bar, A Craft Chocolate Film & Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate

Description: In this episode of Well Tempered, Lauren speaks with Elaine Read (Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate, Atlanta, Georgia) and Amy Burns, two of the principle women from the upcoming documentary 'Setting the Bar: A Craft Chocolate Origin Story.' In their work and throughout the film, the protagonists follow the journey from seed to chocolate bar, and how to foster preservation of fine chocolate for now and the future.

Themes discussed in this episode:

  • How the documentary 'Setting the Bar: A Craft Chocolate Origin Story' came to be

  • Women in cacao & chocolate at origin, as filmmakers, and chocolate makers

  • The importance of preserving heirloom & native cacao at origin for biodiversity, future generations, and taste

  • Relationship building within supply/value chain; farmers, preservationists (like Steve Bergin), and chocolate makers

  • Running a small batch chocolate company in a major metropolitan U.S. city like Atlanta

Photos: Elaine Read & Tim Shephard / Amy Burns

Photos: Elaine Read & Tim Shephard / Amy Burns

 Related links from episode: 

The Film:
Setting the Bar Kickstarter Campaign; running now through November 25, 2016
- Film trailer available on Vimeo
- NW Chocolate Festival in Seattle, Washington 'Rescuing Cacao Diversity + Presentation of 'Setting the Bar' Saturday November 12th at 2PM
Update 2019: The film ‘Setting The Bar; A Craft Chocolate Origin Story’ was officially released March 12, 2019.

Fact Checking: From Emily Stone of Uncommon Cacao; although none of the cooperatives they source from are made up of 100% women, there are examples of female leadership in all of their partner suppliers. For example, Alto Beni Cacao (Bolivia), PISA (Haiti), and Maya Mountain (Belize) operations are all run and managed by women.

Others mentioned in the show: 

What artisan chocolate Elaine would eat in the Cosmos: 
- Rogue Chocolatier, Three Rivers, Massachusetts  (closed as of July 2019)
- Her own Nicaragua 72%; "I know & miss that flavor like I know & miss my kids when they're away!"
- Dick Taylor, Eureka, California

What cacao means to her: 
To me, cacao represents a chance to rebrand chocolate.  The world knows what cocoa is--a powder with which you make really sweet drinks and bake cakes and that is also somehow an ingredient in your chocolate candy.  But "cacao" is a tree, a fruit, a seed and ultimately a superfood that has so many intriguing and elegant nuances when made artfully.  By working in partnership with cacao farmers to get the best from their harvests and then roasting and grinding that cacao, makers can create real chocolate that tastes more of an exotic and satisfying food than of a simple candy.

What artisan chocolate Amy would eat in the Cosmos: (a no-brainer for her because they're all now friends and in the film!)
- Raaka Chocolate, Brooklyn, New York
- Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate, Atlanta, Georgia
- Parliament Chocolate, Redlands, California

What cacao means to her: 
 I am a storyteller. Cacao offers me the ability to tell a story around something that is tangible. It gives us the foundation to try to tell people of how we can preserve rainforest, support indigenous cultures, and connect the growers with the consumers. Cacao has such a huge history and culture around it that it becomes a vehicle to enact change, and that is why I truly love cacao.

More from Elaine: 
- Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate website
- Visit their production space and shop at Krog St Market, Atlanta, Georgia 
- Social media; Instagram @xocolatlchocolate Twitter @xoatlchocolate Facebook @xocolatlsmallbatchchocolate

Photo credit: Elaine Read | Tim Shephard | Amy Burns

Photo credit: Elaine Read | Tim Shephard | Amy Burns

More from Amy: 
- Watch Tim Shephard and Amy's documentary shorts via Boca Local
- Social media; Facebook @settingthebarfilm Instagram @settingthebarfilm

More from podcast host Lauren Heineck: 
- Social media; Instagram @wkndchocolate @welltemperedpodcast Facebook @wkndchocolate Twitter @wkndchocolate 
- Well Tempered Facebook group for cacao & chocolate professionals


Lauren WKNDxocolatl