When we started making chocolate four years ago it seemed as though I never had enough. I pined for more hours in the day, more room to experiment and more courage to make mistakes. Like anyone who devotes their life to a creative endeavor knows, such a discipline can be as isolating as it is rewarding.
But of all the things in short supply, what I really needed most was perspective.
When Sophia, Lauren and I first conceived of Mujeres Milagros, our motivation was simple — step away from the demands of our daily lives and gather with like-minded “women in chocolate” in a serene, supportive space. We had no way of knowing if the idea would resonate but we dared to imagine. Worst case scenario, the three of us would relax at a private hacienda outside Santa Fe, watching the sun rise and fall over a mystical mountain range while commiserating over a stash of decadent craft bars.
Mindful conversations, intentional bonding, nurturing food.
More mantra than mission statement it was, ultimately, a selfish motivation — a connection we desired for ourselves, intimate in both scale and intention. What resulted, however, was nothing less than a magnificent confluence.
One by one, the most perfect women walked through the massive antique Puebla doors and swiftly into our hearts. They were real — these brilliant women — and they not only shared our passion for cacao but a desire for something more transcendent than working for work’s sake.
Over the next few days, we laughed and cried and shared many, many bars as we reconnected with the reasons we all fell in love with cacao in the first place. And, after only a few remarkable days, the retreat had easily become one of the sweetest things I’ve had the pleasure of bringing into the world via Batch.
As we approach another year of making, I’m still unclear as to the kind of impact I might have on craft chocolate as a maker. I am abundantly confident, however, that this little sweet spot we’ve created in the desert has the magic to transform the women who graciously walk a similar path.
This year’s retreat will “celebrate the art of chocolate” with a healthy balance of playful and meaningful.
For me, finally, enough.
I finally witnessed cacao at origin.
Being presented with a freshly plucked pod felt like when a friend shares a sonogram of their unborn child ~ while I played no part in the making of this odd but magical creature, I promise to help love and nurture it into the rock star it will one day become...
― CACAO HQ, ECUADOR
Seems like just yesterday we were showing up to parties peddling these li'l dudes like crack dealers...
― Celebrating 2 Years of Pushing at a Party Near You —
After pushing through a laborious chocolate-making process, bloomed chocolate is generally an unwelcome sign of failure. Yet, by it’s very definition, I sort of love how hope can be found even in the face of defeat.
bloom: to flourish or thrive.
With each new batch, bloom is what we’re striving to avoid in our chocolate and what we aspire to achieve for ourselves as makers.
Success and failure are two sides of the same coin.
There’s a kind of poetic justice to that, don’t you think?
Truth be told, we officially registered Batch Craft as an entity that makes chocolate, and chocolate products, this past April. Wanna hear something wild?
we’re the only* bean to bar chocolate makers in the state of South Carolina!
We only intend to produce and sell in small batches. Think of it less like Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory and more like an artist releasing a new, limited edition print to faithful collectors.
Bars will be handcrafted, signed & numbered and in high demand. (wink)
What does this mean for you?
After a few more months of tasting and tweaking, we plan to release our bars into the wild, for sampling and sale, before the new year.
As you can imagine, we’re a little beside ourselves but we’d really love to know what you think. Does it sound like a plan for sweet success or as wild as Mr. Wonka himself?
*As far as we know / according to countless internet searches.
We first proclaimed our infatuation with small batch craft chocolate almost 6 months ago to the day. Since then, we've traveled far and wide tasting our brains out.
From hopping on every chocolate factory tour we could find, to soldiering through bitter test batches in our own kitchen, craft chocolate has proved to be a worthy seductress.