Have you seen cacao pods before? They’re like something out of a storybook: football-size pods that grow across the length of the equator, in almost any Willy Wonka-approved color (lavender, orange, cherry red, etc.), filled with slimy white seeds that, after a regimen of fermentation and processing, become what we recognize as smooth, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate.
Color Steven Shipler and Kasey McCaslin enchanted. The duo began Scottsdale’s Stone Grindz Chocolate five years ago, gradually turning their “bean-to-bar” hobby into an award-winning vocation. Last year, the prestigious Good Food Awards picked their 70% Wild Bolivia chocolate bar as a finalist among 2,000 other entries. The duo says the wild beans, though difficult to work with, are nearly devoid of bitterness, and yield a malty chocolate flavor with nutty notes of cashew.
Best enjoyed on their own – or with some red wine, perhaps – the Wild Bolivia bars ($8.95 for 2 oz.) can also be pressed into service with roasted almonds and sea salt for truly epic chocolate chip cookies. Pro tip: McCaslin has been known to sneak a square or two into her morning coffee.
Order them straight from the Stone Grindz web shop, or find them at select retail partners, listed on the website.
— Shelby Moore
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