Chocolate On The Road: Home Chocolate Making

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“In my opinion, everyone ought to make their own chocolate at home… If you bake bread, make your own ice cream, or make other baked goods, chocolate making is a skill that should be added to your repertoire.

-Mackenzie Rivers, Map Chocolate

The majority of contemporary artisan chocolate makers begin their careers on a modest scale, within the confines of their own homes. When they reach the decision that they want to make their making a full-time profession, they frequently leave their homes and move into a kitchen space that they have rented or bought. There is a logical progression to these events. However, the fact that chocolate production on such a modest scale is even possible at all is largely due to the efforts of a single individual: John Nanci.

John is the driving force behind Chocolate Alchemy, a resource that has been around for a very long time and is geared toward people who make chocolate at home. He is responsible for the design of many different pieces of machinery that have been modified so that they can be used for the production of chocolate on a small scale, measured in pounds rather than tons. To bring this full circle full circle, he’s also become a source of dozens of different cacao origins that are supplied to chocolate makers all over the world, like Mackenzie Rivers, who owns Map Chocolate.

In this episode, we have conversations with both John and Mackenzie about their respective roles in the movement as well as their observations of it. Our narrative touches on the true scale of chocolate making in people’s homes all over the world, as well as the stages that chocolate making has progressed through and the growing pains of transitioning from amateur to professional. But the most important thing is that we delve into the reasons why you should start making chocolate at home right now.

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Topics We Cover

  • The several ways to become a “professional” chocolatier
  • Understanding what it means to create chocolate at home has evolved throughout time.
  • Expanding the scope of the homemade chocolate movement
  • Making the leap from chocolate maker at home to “professional” chocolate maker
  • The peculiar beginnings of Mackenzie Rivers’ foray into chocolate production at home
  • A “home chocolate factory” is a concept that has gained popularity.
  • What are the essential ingredients and kitchen utensils you need in order to begin creating chocolate at home?
  • Where does all of John Nanci’s chocolate go after it’s finished being made?
  • The role that producing chocolate at home plays in everyday life and in the consumption of chocolate

Show Timeline

0:00-2:00~ Episode introduction with my own history in home chocolate making

2:00-8:00~ Discussing the basics of home chocolate making, its current scale, and the idea of market saturation. (John Nanci)

8:00-20:20~ Diving into how Mackenzie Rivers got into chocolate making, the pros & cons of working from home, and the ideas of factories & scaling as a chocolate maker.

20:20-34:40~ Looking at how to start making chocolate at home, the evolution of small-scale chocolate making equipment, and what John Nanci does with all the chocolate he makes.

34:40-39:00~ Final words from Mackenzie, and the possibilities now afforded to anybody with a few hundred bucks & a valid PO box.

More About Our Guests

John Nanci is the founding alchemist and cacao sourcer at Chocolate Alchemy. He is also the Youtuber behind the channel How to Make Chocolate at Home. Examine Chocolate Alchemy’s Website and Instagram for more information.

The driving force behind Map Chocolate and the Spoon & Pod craft chocolate baking boxes is Mackenzie Rivers. Visit the website and Instagram account of Map, in addition to the page for Spoon & Pod.

Resources Mentioned

  • Smooth Chocolator, owned and operated by Yoon Kim and his company
  • Potomac Chocolate
  • An outline of all of the chocolate manufacturing equipment and procedures that John discusses.
  • The essay written by John on the topic of Why Chocolate Melts
  • “the last meeting of the [chocolate] conference” The Northwest Chocolate Festival was what John was referring to.
  • This podcast’s other episode, which includes John, can be found here.