Tom and Monica were living in Los Angeles as a TV producer and real estate agent and, in their own words “first discovered craft chocolate in, of all places, a vintage furniture shop in Los Angeles. The incredible flavors we tasted in those bars completely changed how we thought about chocolate, and started us on our journey to become single origin chocolate makers”.
As with many of their bars, Tom and Monica searched long and hard for the beans for this bar, travelling to the remote Guatemalan village of San Juan Chivite. The Village is perched on the side of a mountain, reachable only by foot. Part of the journey requires crossing a long, narrow wooden and steel cable footbridge across which all harvested cacao is carried by hand.
At the start of the Guatemalan civil war the village was part of a coffee farm, but when coffee prices declined the owner sold the farm and the land ended up in the hands of 64 indigenous Maya families who had been displaced by the war. The Q’eqchi Maya farmers of Chivite began by growing both coffee and cacao but switched entirely to cacao in 2002. There are now 125 families living in San Juan Chivite, all of whom are descendants of the original 64 families. Until recently they sold their cacao locally, at low prices, but are now working with Cacao Verapaz, which has provided them with technical assistance to improve their fermentation and drying techniques.
When Tom and Monica first visited the village in 2015 the villagers told them that one of their most pressing needs was to replace their old and inadequate fermentation and drying area with a new facility that would allow them to improve their post harvest capabilities. GoodNow were so impressed with the villagers’ commitment to producing high quality cacao that they agreed to fund the construction of a new fermentation and drying area. The villagers built the new facility themselves, with technical advice from Cacao Verapaz, and began using it for the 2016 harvest.
As with all of GoodNow’s chocolate these bars are made by hand in small batches here at their 250 year old New England farm in Sudbury, Massachusetts. The farm is named Goodnow Farm after one of the families who owned it in the mid-1800s
Goodnow are one of the only chocolate makers in the country to fresh press out own cocoa butter – this means their bars have an exceptionally smooth texture and incredibly intense flavor. They also experiment with different percentages, roasts and conches until they are satisfied that they can achieve their self appointed mission of crafting “incredible chocolate that’s true to the flavours of the bean from which it’s sourced, and to source those beans equitably and sustainably”
The chocolate made from this bean has a delightfully bright, sharp and fruity flavor. It has an almost sherberty, light acidity and a mellow, dark fruit finish. We think it goes fantastically with a crisp cup of coffee, or even black tea. And it’s lingering finish makes it a wonderful partner with a glass of red wine at the end of any meal