In the Boulder craft chocolate scene, I don't think anyone could have guessed a year ago where we would be today. We've all faced challenges in some way, having to learn to do things differently and create our own opportunities to make up for losses large and small. (And there is more work to be done.) Luckily our little Colorado artisan chocolate company ground away, got creative, and stayed positive and connected to our community. We thank you for your part in keeping the melangeurs churning.
Jen Caines and daughter setting up. The first wave of tasters enjoyed seeing the factory from the outside.
Made in the Shade
We planned this tasting event months ago with entrepreneurs Dustin and Cora of Farm to Bus, when the Colorado days were cold and short and there was a restlessness and need to connect, with the promise of spring and healing. The weather was shaping up, the makers were making, fans reached out and begged for an event. An event! The need is real! Despite community losses we took a deep breath, squared our shoulders, and kept going. You showed up for us. Thank you! We really had no idea what to expect, even though we had the fresh air and space and all of us vaccinated at least partially. But it was a great day and we really want to express our gratitude by reliving it for you. Here's what happened Saturday: we all woke up to a gorgeous Colorado "bluebird" sky and hustled over to the factory with our goods, our sturdy shade structures, and even a few kids to help out. Michael had cacao beans in every stage to show the curious, including a hard-to-get-in-Colorado fresh red cacao pod from Honduras that was beginning to germinate its seeds.
A cacao pod with seeds in the germination stage.
Taste and Learn
Enthusiasts loved seeing the actual cacao pod opened up and the fleshy interior busy creating its flavor stew. We had tasting chunks of craft chocolate in little cups and Jen walked tasters through the varieties as they slipped them under their masks to sample. Some would savor their chunk and close their eyes, and had it not been so busy I would have loved to hear what they were sensing. By far the top seller was the Belize orange bar. Michael was also able to show what the blood orange slices looked and tasted like before they nestled in the chocolate! It was so exciting to explain the gourmet chocolate process literally from bean to bar, right where we make it.
Chunks of the 65% Belize craft chocolate, and some of the beans and bars.
Michael Caines, Boulder chocolate maker, exhibits the fermented beans while other tasters compare notes.
Offerings for the Springtime Table
In addition to the chocolate bars, tunes, and the rolling farmer's market with their fresh breads, sauces, and local gourmet mushrooms, Michael had bagged up nibs and cacao powder for gourmet chocolate bulk savings, and packaged chocolate-dipped strawberries, pretzels, and dried mangoes. Our CBD bars, boxed in their new durable boutique packaging, sold briskly as well — big movers were the raspberry white chocolate and Japanese matcha white chocolate. Vegan, plant-based organic chocolate with just a touch of cannabinoids.
Boulder, Colorado chocolate entrepreneur Jen Caines guides customers through the offerings as customers wait patiently. A casual market atmosphere welcomed families and a couple of very well-mannered pups.
Our south Boulder DJ, The Vibrarian (who also runs JD's Joyride tours on eBikes), had his mixing table set up and played his special blend of global tropical funksoul beats to set the festive mood. The energy of being around so many others who were ready to enjoy a gorgeous day and support local goods after a long year was almost intoxicating.
South Boulder-based DJ The Vibrarian is a staple at most Moksha events. Attendees came from as far as Denver, Lyons, and a family even dropped in from Iowa on their trip to Boulder through our Eventbrite listing.
There were some fully vaccinated hugs exchanged in our spacious seating areas as old friends reconnected for the first time since last winter or before. What a wonderful thing to witness! I noticed that groups arriving together would respectfully hang back a bit if things got busy, and masked and happy tasters naturally spaced themselves out for a comfortable shopping experience. Many arrived by bicycle since the factory is near the Goose Creek Greenway bike path in Boulder. That was also a joy to see, families with young children shopping on bikes! Two friends from our mailing list came on inline skates, which was a sure sign of spring. We had a helium tank with balloons for kids, and our pogo stick got a workout in the parking lot.
The Personal Touch
Just as it was getting warm enough to melt chocolate, it was three o'clock and we packed it up. Jen gave our last bicycling customers some ice bags to keep their goodies cool as we hit 80 degrees. There's nothing like the personal touch. Whew! Our first in-person event since Valentine's Day 2020 and we had it made, in the shade. So keep checking our events page! If you didn't make it, we will do another before Mother's Day!