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Peruvian Cacao Comes to Hardwick With Prophecy Chocolate

On a Friday evening in late August, my husband and I stumbled upon a sandwich board on Hardwick’s Main Street that promised “Chocolate Upstairs.” We did what any chocolate lovers would do: We opened the door and climbed the stairs.

What once was a loft café inside Buffalo Mountain Food Co-op (relocated around the corner) is now Prophecy Chocolate. Mateo Block and his life and business partner, Wasi Rivera, opened the organic, vegan chocolate company in Hardwick last fall.

For most of the week, the space is used to manufacture chocolate creations, starting with roasting and grinding cacao beans that Prophecy imports directly from farmers in Peru. This makes it a bean-to-bar chocolate maker — unlike many chocolatiers, who use chocolate made by other companies.

Prophecy Chocolate bars - COURTESY

  • Prophecy Chocolate bars

“The cacao beans we work with are usually [an] heirloom variety of cacao … native cacao that’s growing in the region,” Block said.

On Fridays, everything is cleared out to create a chocolate café serving hot and iced chocolate drinks ($4 to $6), organic vegan tamales ($5 each), and gluten-free “fresh creations and baked goods,” such as a fantastic almond butter-stuffed date dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt ($3).

Patrons perch at a counter overlooking Main Street or at a long table flanked by a couch and a bench. Just feet away, in a manufacturing space visible behind a half wall, stone grinders pulverize cacao nibs, one step in the long process of turning cacao to chocolate. Food and drinks can be ordered to go, but who wouldn’t want to enjoy the space where the magic happens?

Prophecy’s classic maple is 75 percent cacao and 25 percent maple sugar. This dark chocolate bar made from just two ingredients delivers delicious complexity thanks to a pair of farms approximately 4,000 miles apart: Peruvian farm Sol Naciente (Rising Sun) in Koribeni, Cusco, and New Leaf Tree Syrups in Marshfield.

Iced Copuazú Creamsicle with a sweet potato and collard greens tamale and a chocolate-dipped date - AMY KOLB NOYES

  • Iced Copuazú Creamsicle with a sweet potato and collard greens tamale and a chocolate-dipped date

Block explained that he and Rivera like to flavor their chocolates with foraged herbs and other wild ingredients. The 70 percent cacao Wild New England bar, for example, includes maple sugar, Chaga mushroom extract and freeze-dried wild Maine blueberries. The bright berries and earthy Chaga create delectable balance.

I am a committed dark chocolate fan but fell for Prophecy’s coconut mylk chocolate bar. At 55 percent cacao, it’s on the dark side for a “milk” chocolate. Sweetened with coconut sugar and enriched with cacao butter and a hint of shredded coconut, it was bold and creamy.

Prophecy Chocolates are available online and at a growing number of Vermont stores. But to experience a slice of chocolate-making heaven in person, you’ll want to head to Hardwick.

Source : Seven Days