Kevin and Janet had the privilege of making chocolate with renown French chef, Jean-Marie Auboine, in Los Vegas this week. Three days of playing with chocolate, making friends from around the world and gleaning from the knowledge and experience of Jean-Marie Auboine and Clay Gordon, author of The Chocolate Life. We are always fine tuning our chocolate making skills and looking for ways to help others experience the delightful cacao bean.
Announcing the birth of our newest Creo family member
Lovingly wrapped for all to admire on February 18, 2015
Weighing in at over 50 grams
73% dark with toasty highlights
We call it – Dark Toasted Coconut and it’s a keeper!
Come in for a sample and get to know our baby.
There is a family resemblance , we are keeping it dark!
For those interested, here’s the birth story.
We have been working on the coconut chocolate bar for a long time. We have been experimenting with numerous different types of coconut and different ways to incorporate it in the bar. Now we understand a bit of Thomas Edison’s frustration when he was searching for the right light bulb filament. Nothing worked for us until we found this:
100% organic coconut chips from Sri Lanka. No sugar added (not needed).
It was love at first sight and taste.
The smell, the taste, the feel and the look. What more could we ask for. Finally, the right coconut. Next step, into the oven for toasting.
This coconut even gets better with toasting. What do you think? Smell it, then taste.
Then the chocolate was put into a mold and a liberal amount (as much as we can safely put in) of coconut was added. The coconut goes deep into the dark chocolate.
Now to put into the packaging. Thanks for asking about the packaging, yes, this packaging is 100% compostable wood fiber even though it looks like plastic. I am truly amazed about clear wood fiber.
It can be challenging to put the bar with this much coconut into the package, but we work hard at it.
The last step is to put on the paper jacket which helps you understand some of the Creo story while allowing you to look through the window at the bar. It is like looking through the window and seeing a master piece.
We have gone a bit nuts (coconuts) over this creation but we believe you are worth the extra time and energy to make this.
This has been a happy ending to all the research and development to make this bar come to life.
I would enjoy hearing what you think about this new addition to our Creo family.
Off to solve the next problem.
Raising the bar $1 at a time
During the dreaming process of starting Creo Chocolate we asked ourselves, “How could we use this company to make a lasting impact in the world we live in?” Out of this thought, the reinvestment of $1 per bar was born.
We find a lot of joy in giving back into our community in this way. We have selected Birch Community Services to be one of Creo’s partners in Chocolate for Change.
Here are some reasons we selected Birch:
- They provide a hand up rather than a handout to the working poor
- Each year they redistribute over 8 million lbs. of food and household items
- Birch is run largely by volunteers.
- Participating families maintain community gardens.
- Mentorship is encouraged to help participating families reach the next level.
- They provide accountability and how-to classes to help participating families make wise financial decisions.
- They are financially sustainable.
- They have a proven track record since 1992.
- Their model has worked so well that each year other organizations come for training on how to replicate it their community.
Enjoy Creo Chocolate and together we will make a lasting difference. Go to birchcommunityservices.org to follow the impact.
Join with us to make Real Change in our world by helping others.
Raising the bar $1 at a time,
Tim, Janet & Kevin
Real Chocolate – Real Relationships – Real Change
Well, it took a little longer than we had originally planned…..ok, a lot longer, but we have finally cleaned up the dust, put away the tools, and moved into our factory and tasting room at 122 NE Broadway, Portland.
Those of you walking or driving by Broadway this week may have gotten a sneak peak into our space. We finally took down the window paper and if you popped your head in, you may have noticed the construction is done!
We still have a few odds and ends to do (like hang some curtains) but in the meantime we are going to make this neighborhood start smelling like chocolate and get busy making deliciousness in our new space.
Our “coming out party” will be at our booth at the Portland Chocolate Fest, January 24 & 25th.
We would love to see you, so please stop by and say hi.
Then we will open the doors to our factory and tasting room on Thursday, January 29th, 11am.
We have a very fun secret in our factory.
If you happen to use our restroom you will discover the floor is covered with beautiful copper pennies. The story is….. for years, Janet has been picking up pennies off the ground whenever she would find one and saving them. She said each one reminded her that “In God We Trust.”
Fast forward, as we were contemplating how to finish our floor we remembered a picture of a penny floor that looked really nice. A lot of copper is being used in the factory already and it just seemed a good fit. We thought that using Janet’s pennies would be a constant reminder that at the foundational, ground floor of Creo Chocolate, we trust in God. “One cent” also reminds us that we are “sent” to make a difference in whatever part of the world we touch (more of the Creo story!).
Since Janet didn’t have quite enough pennies saved up to cover the whole area, we invited our family and friends to contribute their pennies to the floor, joining us in the story. We were so encouraged by the outpouring of love and support as pennies started coming from all over the Metro area. Our daughter, Lydia, organized the pennies and with some help from a sister, laid them all down real pretty.
I’m sure you are wondering just how many pennies are on that floor. A lot! Actually, about 20,000.
Some of them are pretty old and then there are Indian head, wheat backs, steel, shiny new ones and some that look like they have been around the world a few times or used in a lot of gum ball machines! Ask one of our team what the oldest penny is.
Now that you know the story behind our little secret, we hope that our floor inspires you also. Be sure and take a peek if you need to take a leak! (Did I really write that? 😉 )
Really good question and I have a really good answer. For one, we are not just making chocolate, as wonderful as it is, we are creating an experience.
When we first began experimenting with making chocolate, three of our family members took a trip across the United States to visit chocolate makers and hoped to actually watch someone making chocolate. Surprisingly, most makers crafted their chocolate without an audience. Our family came home a bit disappointed but resolved to not let that be the case where we live.
Handcrafted chocolate is a fascinating story and an experience that we thought our community in Portland/Vancouver would benefit from and enjoy learning about. So, we made our chocolate factory with an open footprint so you can watch chocolate being made all the way from the cacao bean to the chocolate bar. We also give a behind-the-scenes tour of our factory and Chocolate 101 classes where among other things, you will actually get your hands involved in the making process.
Second difference, we make real chocolate using two ingredients, the cacao bean and organic evaporated cane juice. It is simple and pure, allowing the unique flavor notes of the bean to sing in your mouth! This chocolate is interesting, flavorful and satisfying. We do not mold or work with chocolate finished outside of our factory. The chocolate you taste at our factory & tasting room is all made right there by our Creo team.
Third difference, we brew chocolate drinks at our Chocolate Brew Bar. After roasting our beans, we will grind some and brew them similar to coffee, but with the complex chocolaty flavors and subtle aromas the come right from the cacao bean itself. It is different than a hot chocolate which we will also serve, because it is not dairy based. It can be drank brown and pure or creatively mixed with creamer/sweetener.
The ultimate superfood drink, it contains no sugar, no dairy, no sodium, no cholesterol, yet is extremely high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, heart healthy magnesium and theobromine which provides natural, healthy energy.
The fourth difference, we buy our beans directly from our farmer. Having been farmers for 16 years, our heart seeks out the source and integrity of ingredients and the connection with the grower. This means a relationship. We know about his farm because we have been there and walked among the trees and eaten in their kitchen. There are faces on our chocolate.
The fifth reason our chocolate is different, we believe in making a difference in the world and we are doing that through creating chocolate. We decided from the beginning that $1 from every chocolate bar that we sold we would give for this purpose. Our Creo team keeps their eyes out and ears open to needs that we can contribute to, then we post this on our “Chocolate Love” wall and keep the dollar amount updated daily until it’s time to “share the love”. You will find a jar with $1 bills on our counter for each bar sold as a very visual reminder that we believe in making a difference. That’s a real part of the Creo story.
So now, what’s so different about our chocolate?
The bean is central, where we start in creating real, handcrafted chocolate.
The branches show us reaching out to create real relationships with farmers who grow our ingredients, with customers who become part of the Creo family and with our community.
The leaves provide a canopy covering, a healthy, growing part of the tree that seeks to serve others; creating real change by helping those in need in our local and global community.
Our family began making chocolate while living on a raspberry farm in the Portland metro area. Working with chocolate gave us opportunities to express what we truly care about: relationships, putting others first, quality craftsmanship, and making a difference in people’s lives. Driven by our passion for sharing through chocolate, we sold our raspberry farm in order to direct source cacao beans from farmers and open a chocolate workshop in the city.
We want to share our craft with the community in a way that Portland has never seen before; in our workshop you will be able to watch real chocolate being made, from the bean to the bar. The experience will be ready to share with the public this fall. In the meantime, enjoy our video and sign up to receive email updates about our shop. We can’t wait to have you join us.