For years I’ve felt comfortable calling myself a chocolate lover. Then I met Makesha Duncan, a woman whose affinity for chocolate is so far beyond my own that I can now only comfortably call myself a chocolate liker. Throughout culinary school and her jobs in various pastry kitchens, Makesha maintained a passion for creating decadent chocolate treats. Eventually her passion for chocolate moved beyond creating with chocolate to creating chocolate itself and Night Owl Chocolate was born.
Night Owl Chocolate is the only bean-to-bar chocolate company in the Upstate. Makesha and her husband, Dave, begin each batch of chocolate with single-origin, fair-trade, organic cocoa beans. After the beans have been hand-sorted to ensure that bad beans do not get into a batch of chocolate, the beans are roasted and crushed. The crushed beans are winnowed to separate the shells and then the cocoa nibs are juiced to create the chocolate liquor. The chocolate liquor is ground together with sugar and vanilla beans in a melanger for 30-40 hours straight. That’s right. 30-40 hours. The chocolate is then aged, tempered, molded, and packaged.
Simply typing the words to describe the process of chocolate-making cannot convey the skill and patience required to make an excellent batch of chocolate. Makesha and Dave spend hours upon hours in their chocolate kitchen, crafting high-quality chocolate. For them, Night Owl Chocolate is a labor of love resulting in excellent locally made, organic chocolate that delights the taste buds. When I took my first bite of the 70% Dark Chocolate bar made from Madagascar beans, I knew that Night Owl Chocolate is meant to be savored, not merely eaten.
There are many reasons one might purchase Night Owl Chocolate. Fine chocolate makes a welcome gift and can be the perfect way to end (or begin) a day. For me, though, purchasing Night Owl Chocolate means I can enjoy chocolate that has been made in a responsible and ethical manner by passionate and talented people who live in my community. Indulging my sweet side while supporting my community sounds like a win-win situation to me.
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Night Owl Chocolate is currently sold at Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery and The Wild Radish Health Store. For information about ordering directly from Night Owl Chocolate, email Makesha Duncan: