meet the makers
As micro batch bean to bar makers, we are involved in, and manage every single step.
Beginning with sourcing beans consciously from around the world, to hand sorting the harvest, roasting the beans (after testing many different roast profiles), cracking, winnowing, conching and stone grinding the beans and lastly, hand wrapping each individual bar. All of this preparation is done in our small kitchen, just outside Munich with dedication and joy.
Food has always been an integral part of our lives. An ethically sustainable, grassroots and personally nurtured supply chain has always been at the heart of who we are and what we do. Hence, our name. We believe that good food, brings people together.
We want craft chocolate to have less pomp and more circumstance.
Similar to wine making and tasting, cacao beans have complex characteristics and nuances, depending on where they are grown (terroir) and fermented and under which conditions.
Once we receive the fermented beans, our greatest joy lies in the creative and experimental process of adjusting and testing different roasting times and temperatures to find our personal preference. This is the most exciting part of chocolate making: working with the bean, and letting the bean do the talking! And, we want to share this flavor journey with you, while making it enjoyable and fun. This is our gift to you, our labor of love.
How it started...
In essence, Truly was actually born many years ago in the province of Santa Elena, Ecuador in the welcoming company of a smiling stranger wearing giant wellies (rubber boots), wielding a machete half his own size. We landed somewhat aimlessly in Santa Elena province after a 3 hour ride on a crowded chicken bus (literally). Most people head to this region to stay in Montañita, a rather grimy Bohemian seaside town famous for good surf and rowdy night life.
Lo que pasa en Montañita queda en Montañita!
But we came just because. We were at the tail end of an incredible three-week journey through every corner of the country - from magic moments on the Galapagos Islands, to near death experiences in Cajas National Park, and to everything in between. We experienced the real Ecuador and all she had to offer. I even have stitches to prove it.
And as chance would have it, our adventure took us to an organic cacao farm. Our host walked us through his lush, overgrown property, pointing out all the things growing wildly together, and while casually walking past some odd-looking trees with giant yellow fruit, he asked if we had ever tasted “baba de cacao”. Our blank stares led him to search intentionally for a perfectly ripe pod. With a couple of whacks of the machete, he held out a thick-skinned tear shaped pod with an almost alien looking pulp inside and told us to try it. Just as I had bit down and started chewing, he said “you don’t want to chew it, the seeds taste awful. Just suck on the pulp”.
Timing is everything.
I can still taste the sweet warm honey of the baba de cacao, the mucilaginous pulp that surrounds the raw cacao beans inside their thick pod. I’d never tasted anything like this, let alone seen it.
“This is what makes chocolate” he said as he led us over to a greenhouse which had cacao beans drying after their fermentation.
For two curious, well-travelled foodies, like us, this was a first. We were deeply humbled to discover, surrounded by the plants which bear the beans, where real chocolate really comes from.
What we had just tasted was nothing like we had ever tasted or what we knew “chocolate” to be.
It was love at first sight. And while I can’t quite advocate chewing raw beans I feel obligated to say “it was love at first bite”…
(sorry, I had to)
So here we are. After several weeks in the country, thinking that we had seen and experienced it all, only to taste the best gift that Ecuador has to offer: cacao. In its purest and most unadulterated simple form. As it was intended to be.
We returned to Germany with a new mission, and did what every aspiring chocolate maker does: we bought a coffee roaster for home use, a premier stone grinder, a juicer and then we sacrificed my hair dryer. Armed with a boatload of curiosity we just started. We started experimenting.
The journey from pod to bar is downright fascinating. This is our passion, which we want to share with you.
We hope that our chocolate bars – made in fellowship with a fantastic team of growers, farmers, suppliers, and employees - will take you on a deliciously inspiring journey to its origins. We quite literally hope you can taste the place.
We hope your truly chocolate experience reminds you that every good adventure happens when you least expect it.
Just be open to the unfamiliar. Expect the Unexpected.
Yours truly -
Davina & Rony Utz