Cacao is the source of chocolate and chocolate runs in the blood of the chocolatier. One of the perks of the job is that we know many our farmers personally and spend a fair amount of time visiting farms. At Dancing Lion Chocolate, we source nearly all of our cacao directly from folks such as the indigenous growers at Agrofloresta Mesoamericana in Mexico, our Mayan friends at BFREE Belize, and farmers from Hacienda Victoria, Ecuador.

Jeanmarie Chocolat, Puerto Rico

At Hacienda Jeanmarie in Puerto Rico with owner Juan Echeverria (center) and Eduardo Cortes of Forteza Chocolate (right).

When we occasionally source through distributors, we do our homework. Heirloom-designated “Itenez” from Tranquilidad Estate in Bolivia is a good example. Throughout our website you’ll find plenty of photos and stories about all these fine folks.

You can learn more about how to best support farmers and ethical sourcing from Heirloom Cacao Preservation, of which I’m a Board member. The Fine Chocolate Industry Association, of which I’m a past Board member, is also active in this regard.

The Mayans (Eddie & Ophalia), Dancing Lion, and HCP Chair Jacob Marlin at BFREE Belize

We are a BEAN TO BONBON chocolate maker, which means we produce chocolate to our own specifications and for our own use. Stop into our shop for an opportunity to try a bit of whatever we’re working on at the moment. If you’re a chocolatier and wondering about what’s involved with making your own couvertures, check out the Couverture Making for Chocolatiers course we offer through Ecole Chocolat.

If chocolate is our blood, FLAVOR is our soul. We fill our kitchen with house-made rare extracts and preserved fruits, and the most extraordinary of ingredients that we encounter in our journeys. Our local cream is from the cows of Contoocook Creamery in Contoocook, New Hampshire. We purchase many of our precious spices from friends Ethne and Philippe de Vienne at Epices de Cru in Montreal, and most of our rare and exotic teas from Red Blossom Tea in San Francisco, and Ming Tao Xuan and Cha DoRaku in Montreal. Our espresso is custom-roasted and blended by Clarena of Clarena’s Coffee in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region.

We receive more than a few comments about our rather nice chef jackets (both men’s and women’s) and aprons. I say this without reservation…

Crooked Brook makes each for us custom. We won’t buy them anywhere else because Veronica (“Studio!”) is a Goddess and provides outrageously good customer service, and because they (the jackets and aprons, not Veronica, though she probably could as well) can take the sort of abuse we heap on them and still look good. I wish every vendor in the world was as professional and easy to work with.

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