Visiting Fruition Chocolate Works in Shokan!
Recently, some Todd Hill staff went on a trip near the Catskill area to visit our store vendors. Fruition Chocolate Works in Shokan, NY, gave us a tour inside their production facility and showed us how chocolate is made from scratch -- from bean to bar!
These are some of the chocolates offered by Fruition:
We carry the Brown Butter Bourbon caramels, Passion Fruit caramels, chocolate bars, chocolate covered almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and sipping mix.
So how are these chocolates made?
First, Fruition chooses the best flavored cacao from around the world. Fruition uses fine flavor cacao beans that are primarily from Central and South America (Dominican Republic, Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia) and more recently from Madagascar. Most of the cocoa beans are Organic and Fair Trade certified. However, the Organic and Fair Trade certification can be expensive for some growers to get, so Fruition ensures that the cacao farms they purchase from use organic growing practices and fair trade labor policies using the Transparent Trade model.
What is cacao? It is the seed from which chocolate is made. Inside of this pods are seeds that get removed from the pod.
Image taken from www.fruitionchocolateworks.com/pages/process
Before the cacao beans arrive in Shokan, they are fermented and dried to develop the rich chocolate flavor of the bean. Different bean farms have slightly different fermentation practices, which produce distinctive results that chocolate producers look for when sourcing the perfect beans.
The beans are shipped to the Fruition Factory and look like this:
In the Fruition Factory, the chocolatier selects their beans and roasts them on a sheet pan at a low temperature to reduce moisture in the bean and bring out the chocolate aroma.
Next, the beans are put through a winnowing machine to remove the bean shell. The Fruition factory ends up with only .25% of shell remaining in the batch, while the industry standard is much higher and allows 1.5% of the shell to remain.
They are now left with cacao nibs, which are the crumbled bits of cacao beans pictured here.
To liquify the nibs, they get put through a conching machine, heated to around 130-160 degrees F. The machine mixes the chocolate and evenly distributes the cocoa butter throughout the chocolate liquor, bringing out a beautiful shine. This process can take 2-5 days.
After the chocolate is smooth, it is put into a tempering machine, which sets the chocolate to the right temperature and produces that snap and shine characteristic of chocolate. The bars are then filled, packaged, and ready to ship!
Fruition can produce up to 3,000 chocolate bars in a day and has been in operation for 10 years. They are one of the only few small batch chocolate producers that make chocolate from bean to bar in one facility in NY.
Learn more about how chocolate is processed here: https://www.fruitionchocolateworks.com/pages/process