frequently asked questions
every craft chocolate has a story
What does single origin mean?
Essentially, single origin means that the chocolate is made using cacao beans from one specific place or “origin.” This is something special because most chocolate is made up of a blend of beans from different countries. Commercial chocolate sells at such a low price that these blends often need to be from relatively bad quality beans, blended and roasted at a very high temperature to mask the off-flavors.
Truly is made with single origin beans, and our specialty is sourcing from Latin America although we do have a bar from Madagascar too! We do not buy bulk beans or make blends. This is not to say that blends can not be good. There are some craft chocolate makers whose blends are fantastic.
At Truly, we want you to be able to taste the place. Much like wine, the soil profile, climate, fermentation and drying all play a role in giving each origin its distinctiveness. Terroir! Beans from Ecuador are often very fruity while beans from Tanzania will be earthy. Nicaragua often has nutty qualities while beans from the Domincan Republic are known to be bright and fruity.
what does bean to bar mean?
Bean to bar is the term used to describe chocolate that is made straight from the cacao bean.
A lot of chocolatiers buy a bulk source of chocolate and simply melt it down to craft their chocolates. Bean to bar makers such as ourselves are devoted to the process. We start with sourcing our beans consciously and hand sort, roast winnow, stone grind, conche, temper, and mould all of our chocolate in our very own kitchen just outside of Munich.
We also work in very small batches of about 20 kilo. A batch from the bean to the bar will take roughly one week to produce, not counting the aging time of a couple of months.
We are all familiar with the craft beer movement and craft coffee too. At Truly, we hope to put bean to bar chocolate on the map in Germany!
does your chocolate really expire?
actually, good craft chocolate does not really expire, however as producers we are required by law to put a used-by-date on our packaging. While some chocolate may start to lose a bit of their interesting flavors after a year or so, other chocolate, can actually improve with time. The MHD is just a guideline or suggestion, but not a definitive expiration date. If you store your chocolate properly in a cool, dry location between 14 and 16 degrees Celsius, it will last a long time. Your self control is another issue 😊
Inproper storing, for example if the temparture fluctuates too much, can cause bloom (fettreif oder zuckerreif). These are grey patches or white streaks which make the chocolate look less beautiful, and the mouthfeel seem more brittle. The chocolate will still be edible, it simply lost its temper. This is not mould!
what does 70% signify?
when a chocolate of any kind says it is 70% this means 70% of the ingredients come from the cacao bean – cacao solids and cacao butter. The rest come from other ingredients such as sugar, vanilla, nuts, lecithin’s (which create a creamier mouthfeel).
A lot of chocolate actually contains very little cacao solids. To be called “chocolate” in the U.S. for example, a bar has to be at least 10 % cacao. Only.
It is important to reiterate that the 70% that comes from the cacao bean also includes additional cacao butter which is added. It is never specified on the packaging or ingredients label how much of the 70% is cacao solids (beans) and how much of that 70% is extra added cacao butter.
By nature, a cacao bean has cacao butter in it. Depending on the origin, about 50% of the bean is actually cacao butter. This is why we at Truly do not add extra cacao butter to our bars. We do not want to “dilute” the flavor. We want to work with what mother nature has given us. So when our chocolate says 70% this means 70% pure cacao solids, no added cacao butter. The rest is made up of organically certified cane sugar. We do not even add vanilla. And also we do not add lecithin’s, emulsifiers or other inclusions to any of our bars.
why does truly craft chocolate cost more than bars in the supermarket
let’s start with the ingredients: industrial or commercial chocolate, as well as chocolate made by some smaller suppliers has a long list of ingredients. As you may know, ingredients are listed by highest to lowest amount used. Meaning the first ingredient is what the majority of the product is made up of. A lot of chocolate will have “sugar” listed as the first ingredient, meaning the bar is made up of mostly sugar, which is a cheap additive. In many cases, cacao butter will be replaced by cheaper vegetable fats, and real vanilla is replaced by cheap synthetic alternatives such as vanillin or aroma.
Truly is made with only two ingredients: starting with whole cacao beans (which we process ourselves) and organically certified cane sugar. As mentioned above, we do not add extra cacao butter to our bars. This gives our product a very pure cacao content. And the cacao bean is the most expensive ingredient.
It goes without saying that we also do not add vanilla or other inclusions, nor do we add emulsifiers or lecithins. As our bars are focused on single origin, and we want you to be able to taste the place, we believe adding anything other than organic cane sugar dilutes the flavor. Plus, as with our ice cream, we want our products to go back to their roots. Less is always more.
Our organically certified can sugar costs more than highly processed bleached white sugar.
Aside from the purity of ingredients, Truly is a handmade product. From hand sorting the beans to hand wrapping every individual bar, we do all the work ourselves in our kitchen just outside of Munich with a lot of dedication and care. One small batch of chocolate bars will take us at least a week from hand-sorting the beans to hand-wrapping and packaging the bars. In between this week, we age our chocolate for about 2 months.
is chocolate good for you?
craft chocolate is good. In moderation. The general rule of thumb is: the darker the chocolate (less sugar added), the better the health benefits are.
Truly is two ingredient chocolate so our cacao content is prominent. And cacao is indeed an absolute superfood.
Our process focuses on low roasting, which also helps protect cacao’s natural superfood qualities. High roasts (this applies to any food) destroy the positive qualities.
Craft chocolate, especially TRULY with its low roast and limited ingredients is packed with health benefits. Some of these include but are not limited to:
cacao has a high ORAC score, higher than most of the superfoods we know of. ORAC scores measure the ability of antioxidants to absorb free radicals (that come from pollution and toxins in our environment), which cause cell and tissue damage and can lead to diseases such as cancer. Raw cacao has an amazing ORAC score of 98,000 per 100g, vs blueberries at a mere 2,400.
Cacao is the highest plant-based source of iron known to man, at a whopping 7.3mg per 100g. This compares to beef and lamb at 2.5mg, and spinach at 3.6mg.
raw cacao has the highest plant-based sources of magnesium. Magnesium is important for a healthy heart, and helps turn glucose into energy enabling your brain to work clearly!
Cacao is a great source of four scientifically proven bliss chemicals – serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylethylamine. These neurotransmitters are associated with cosy feelings of wellbeing, happiness, and can even alleviate depression. A natural, healthy, delicious (and legal) way to get your happy buzz on.
the polyphenols naturally present in cacao have been linked to numerous health benefits, including reduced inflammation, better blood flow, lower blood pressure and improved cholesterol and blood sugar levels
as with all things in life: enjoy them in moderation. This is why our bar is 45g and is made up of 12 little squres. it is made to savor slowly and not devour in one go! A square a day might keep the doctor away.
why is the bar so small?
before getting into chocolate making, we tasted and tested a LOT of chocolate. Not just for flavor but also for appearance and packaging. Market research!
Chocolate comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Preferring a thin bar over a thick bar is simply a matter of personal preference. At Truly, we enjoy thick pieces of chocolate more as we believe they offer a better flavor journey, than a very thin bar which melts quickly in your mouth. Consequently, we made our bars thick.
45g is a relatively standard size for bars in the craft chocolate world. Some bars run up to about 60 or 70g at the most and will run you around 8 to 10 euro.
Because our bars are thick at 45g, they appear smaller than a 45g bar which is thin and wide would. One 45g bar contains 12 squares of chocolate. As we mentioned before, our chocolate is made for savoring slowly and not devouring in one go. Our chocolate is also bold with an intense flavor, so one little square really packs a punch. Considering our bars, when fresh, provide a long finish, one little square goes a long way.
We purposely opted for snug packaging, hand wrapping our bars in foil, as we want to preserve freshness by not allowing air to get in. Some chocolate packages are rather deceitfully large looking but the contents are small. At truly, what you see is what you get.
where do you source your cacao from?
We use fine flavor cacao primarily from Central and South America but we also have a bar from Madagascar in our offering. You can see our current selection here. Most of the cocoa beans we source are Organically certified. However, in the cases where certification is not in place, we ensure organic growing practices and beyond fair trade labor policies through transparent sourcing that we ensure by working with trustworthy partners.
As our work in ice cream has taught us, many certification programs and schemes are not quite all they are cracked up to be. Quality and ethics are important values for us. It is possible to have a high quality and extremely ethical product which is not organically or fair trade “certified”. Keep in mind that these certifications are very expensive and involve a lot of paperwork - a lot of farmers across the world especially in Latin America might not have access to getting their products “certified” however most cacao grows in truly "organic" conditions.