Our second event at Makeshift Society was on Thursday, March 11th with the co-founders of Dandelion Chocolate, Todd Masonis and Cameron Ring. They kicked off the event with a high-level history of their company, and how small-batch chocolate is made.
The audience got a hands-on lesson about where chocolate comes from: cacao pods! Up to 30-50 cocoa beans grow inside one cacao pod, which is, surprisingly, a fruit.
The cocoa beans are fermented and dried, then roasted.
Inside the cocoa beans are cocoa nibs, which taste like a chocolate nut. Dandelion Chocolate is only made with cocoa nibs and sugar.
The Dandelion Chocolate tasting set makes it easy to do a small tasting. We started with Patanemo, Venezuala, then tried Elvesia, Dominican Republic, and finished with Ambanja, Madagascar.
The audience enjoyed tasting small bites at a time, and comparing the flavors of each bar.
Todd and Cam work with farms directly to source their beans. They take fair labor practices seriously, and take measured steps to only work with farmers they trust.
Cam and Todd have known each other since 1997, when they met at Stanford. They worked together for eight or nine years as the co-founders of Plaxo. I asked, “What's your advice for a working partnership?” Their answer: establishing your core values, and learning how to deal when things inevitably go wrong.
If you're itching for a change, the most important thing you can do is find something you're passionate about, and pursue it. Don't give in to your fear–just go try some things, and remember to have fun. According to Cam, happiness what makes their chocolate taste so good.
Thank you, Todd and Cam, for sharing your expertise (and chocolate!) with us. I couldn't have asked for a better guest, or a more generous audience.
Until next time,