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Discover Monthly: The Chocolate Alchemy Series
Discover Monthly: The Chocolate Alchemy Series
Discover Monthly: The Chocolate Alchemy Series
Discover Monthly: The Chocolate Alchemy Series
Discover Monthly: The Chocolate Alchemy Series
Discover Monthly: The Chocolate Alchemy Series
Discover Monthly: The Chocolate Alchemy Series
Discover Monthly: The Chocolate Alchemy Series
Discover Monthly: The Chocolate Alchemy Series
Discover Monthly: The Chocolate Alchemy Series
Beans and Beats

Discover Monthly: The Chocolate Alchemy Series

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I am really stoked to share this collection with you!

Once a month I receive a chocolate making kit from the same supplier I purchase most of my ingredients from: Chocolate Alchemy. Founder John Yancy, the godfather, as I like to call him, of small batch, craft chocolate making, develops a kit each month that focuses on a specific topic related to crafting chocolate. From roasting, to recipe development, to the excitement of new cocoa beans, each kit provides me with information that helps me further my education and understanding of chocolate making. It has been a fun journey of learning over the past 2 years, and I want to share it with those of you who are just as intrigued as I am about the world of chocolate. I will say, these kits are unique and will challenge your mindset around what chocolate is and should taste like. I have come across some very interesting tasting notes in a variety of cocoa beans; I have made milk chocolates that barely seem milky in nature; and I have made different tasting chocolate with the same ingredients by simply changing the way I apply the inclusions. If this kind of food science tantalizes your tastebuds, then I suggest you keep scrolling!!

75% Venuzela Ocumare Single-Origin Dark

This month's kit was to show how simple chocolate making can be as well as to highlight the elegant qualities of cocoa, even at a higher percentage. 

There is a common assumption that any chocolate that is 75% or higher is bold, bitter and hard eating for those with a more typical palate. The thing is, that's not always the case. Some cocoa beans can be very elegant and gently expressive even at a higher percentage. The cocoa bean and how it's roasted are key.

To showcase this, cocoa from Venezuela Ocumare was chosen and roasted at a slow and steady pace to bring out the desired notes: layers of warm, soft, velvet aroma, sublime, brown fruit and rich, nuanced chocolate. 

Ingredients: cocoa nibs, organic cocoa butter and organic cane sugar


70% Single-Origin Philippines Davao de Oro Dark Mylk Chocolate (August 2023)

Don't be fooled by the stated percentage. This chocolate is earthy, savory, and smoky in the most deliciously addictive way. Originally, this recipe included 15% buttermilk powder to soften the powerful tasting notes of this cocoa bean and to add a lovely tang. However, in an effort to maintain my mission to provide dairy-free, vegan chocolate, I swapped it it out for 10% oat milk powder. As a result, you get a slightly higher percentage and more potent tasting chocolate, no tang, and tad bit less milky creaminess. While it may not have resulted in a chocolate as equally as tasty as the kit intended, I'm personally enjoying strength of the unique tasting notes in this bean.

With notes of tobacco, peat, smoky chipotle, umami and a touch of guava, this smoky, savory, non-sweet chocolate is perfect for any dark chocolate lover, or those who are anti-sweet tooth ;)

Ingredients: cocoa nibs, organic cane sugar, organic oat milk powder, and organic cocoa butter

53% Mexican Mole Spiced Dark Mylk Chocolate (October 2023)

This kit was a fun one!! First off, who doesn't love Mexican spices? I love the sweet, smoky, pepperiness of ancho and chipotle peppers. And they always pair so well with chocolate. But what made this kit even more fun was the decision making process on how to apply the inclusions. Toasted or raw? Whole or extracted? It required some additional work in the kitchen to get the desired results, which was an exciting change from the normal process! As a result, we have a chocolate that beautifully captures the flavors of Mexican Mole.

It's sweet, warm, and aromatic, with notes of toasted nuts and a distinct, bright, dried fruitiness (raisins?) encased in a chocolate that is deep, and rich in dark flavors such as brown sugar, toffee and coffee. 

Ingredients: cocoa nibs (Tanzania Kokoa Kamili), organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, oat milk powder, spice mix (cinnamon, ancho, cumin, chipotle, allspice and clove), sesame seeds

54% Spiced Dark Mylk Chocolate (November 2023)

I have to agree with John Yancy; it's not the holidays without a spiced chocolate to celebrate with. Naturally, everyone leans towards Pumpkin Spice come November, but as John notes, it's ubiquitous with the holidays, and therefore, in his words exactly, he "felt the desire to riff on it (again)" (Anyone recall the Gingersnap Holiday chocolate of 2022? Yeah that was one of his riffs). This year, he veered towards something even more different and unique: Chinese 5 Spice. Made up of star anise, fennel, peppercorn and a fair amount of cinnamon and clove, Chinese 5 Spice adds a powerful layer of flavor to this dark mylk chocolate. 

As I did with the other chocolates, I swapped the milk powder for oat milk powder, which reduced the milky creaminess just a tad and allowed the flavors to shine through even more. With a rich, full chocolate backbone filled with notes of sweet fudge and molasses and heavily spiced with Chinese 5 Spice, I find this chocolate to be a lovely treat for the tastebuds. 

Ingredients: cocoa nibs (Uganda Kisinga), organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, oat milk powder and Chinese 5 Spice 

72% Dark Chocolate Blend (December 2023)

 This chocolate is simple, well-balanced and absolutely delightful. Made up of a blend of three different origins - Bolivia Walikeewa, Venezuelan Ocumare, and Madagascar Sambirano - and perfectly roasted through aroma only, this chocolate blend is just a small example of John's talent and expertise. 

Sweet with a solid chocolate backbone, and notes of sumptuous browned fruits, nuts, a dry earthiness and a hint of vibrancy, I promise you, this one will be hard to put down. In addition, the high cocoa butter percentage gives it a lovely, smooth mouthfeel, making the overall tasting experience just heavenly. 

Ingredients: cocoa nibs, organic cane sugar and organic cocoa butter 

58.5% Tanzania Valentine's Day Special (January 2024)

This one is for the classic chocolate lovers out there! Inspired by a request to create a more basic flavored chocolate for Valentine's Day, John set out to a create a recipe that would capture that classic chocolate (read: commercial) taste that we're all familiar with, without diminishing the uniqueness of single-origin chocolate. 

He started off by choosing an origin with a strong chocolate backbone. He then chose a classic roasting profile that develops the chocolate flavor, while removing astringency and holding back the development of bitterness. Once that was complete, it was on to recipe development. To keep it similar, he chose a high percentage of added sugar, and added vanilla for flavor. The amount of cocoa butter added was based mainly on chocolate science, but led to similar silky mouthfeel without the need for added milk powder. 

Bring it all together, and you have a classic chocolate that is buttery, soft and sweet with notes of vanilla and a hint of bright fruitiness. The distinct twist of fruitiness at the end serves as a beautiful reminder that this IS a single-origin chocolate and should be appreciated for being different than the norm. 

Ingredients: cocoa nibs (Tanzania Kokoa Kamili), organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter and vanilla powder

50% Ecuador Esmeraldas Oatmylk Chocolate (February 2024)

This month we dive into the making of milk chocolate and some of the necessary requirements to make it perfectly balanced in flavor.

One of the reasons I chose Chocolate Alchemy as my main source of ingredients when starting out was because of his versatile selection of inclusions, my favorite still being his organic, non-GMO, non-grainy oat milk powder. It can replace regular milk powder *almost* at a 1:1 ratio; the lack of added fat just needs to be accounted for. It's smooth and non-grainy in flavor and adds a nice creaminess to the chocolate as well as a hint of caramel notes. 

This recipe highlights the versatility as well as deliciousness of this oat milk powder with a simple recipe that, for those of you who have been around for a while, may find to be very similar in flavor to my oatmylk chocolate. That's because the recipes are very similar with the only major variance being the choice of cocoa beans, which both are similar in notes as well. 

It's sweet and balanced, with a solid chocolate backbones and notes of dark brown sugar, caramel and creamy oats. 

Ingredients: cocoa nibs, organic cocoa butter, organic cane sugar, organic, oat milk powder 

72% Single-Origin Ghana Dark Chocolate (March 2024)

"The deep, rich chocolate you grew up with".

Cue the nostalgia. This statement immediately brings up memories of the sweet, vanilla laced scent of chocolate that filled my basket and stocking every year as a kid. Now, grant it, that chocolate wasn't as deep and rich as this one; nor was it dark (at least not often). But this delicious 72% dark made with cocoa beans from Ghana is just as good; actually, no it's definitely better. 

With a solid, chocolate backbone, filled with notes of licorice, dates, light tobacco leaf, molasses, carob and nuts (cashews and macadamias), and enhanced with the sweet aroma of vanilla, this chocolate will be sure to you smile like a child on Christmas morning. It's a solid, sweet, aromatic classic. 

Ingredients: cocoa nibs, organic cocoa butter, organic cane sugar, organic vanilla powder

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