June 10, 2015
Chocolate is just like a wine. Many of us live in a binary world where chocolate is either milk or dark, but stripped down to the source-the cocoa beans-you discover that chocolate has a variety of flavors and intricate subtleties in taste. Like wine grapes, cocoa beans from different regions produce different flavors, and the way a cocoa bean is fermented, dried, or ground will affect its taste. And like wine, the making of chocolate is an art form.
After spending two years in Panama as a Peace Corp Volunteer, working with a group of Cacao farmers and artisan chocolate makers, Adam Armstrong, owner of Mutari, has brought the art of chocolate to Santa Cruz. More specifically, Armstrong is bringing the art of hot chocolate to Santa Cruz. In Panama, hot chocolate is a common beverage that is consumed two to three times a day. Here in the US, most people simply eat chocolate, but, “For 90% of [chocolate’s] existence it has been a drink. We have kind of lost that here,” says Armstrong. He wants to, “Bring the [origins of hot chocolate] back to the states. Make an old thing new again, and add his own flair."
And, this hot chocolate has flair in spades – from the Himalayan Pink Salt Hot Chocolate to the Dark Ecuadorian Mocha, this hot chocolate is not just a sweet treat, but an experience.
Mutari chocolate had an explosive arrival on the Santa Cruz food scene. Just a year ago Armstrong started his business making chocolate for retail distribution. And, a few months later an opportunity came up to join the Food Lounge--a commercial kitchen, event, art, and education space focused on food and community. Mutari opened its doors there in March of this year.
Businesses specializing in a single product, who have a story to tell and strong connections to where there product comes from, are able to not only survive but thrive.
Mutari is a part of the food wave in Santa Cruz that is focused on craft artisanal foods. Santa Cruz is “a cool town where people are interested in where their food comes from”, says Armstrong, and so businesses specializing in a single product, who have a story to tell, and strong connections to where there product comes from are able to not only survive but thrive.
Learn more about Mutari Chocolate: mutarichocolate.com