Chocolate Purveyors 22- Dustin Taylor
Chocolate Purveyors is a blog series where we connect and discuss everything chocolate with both makers and enthusiasts. This discussion is with Dustin Taylor, one of the owners of Dick Taylor Chocolate.
Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor have always loved crafting. With a background in woodworking and boat building, they have always worked with their hands. Craft is a guiding principle in their lives. After hearing about the craft chocolate movement in the late '00s, they saw similarities in woodworking and craft chocolate making. They became fascinated with the idea of the chocolate experience and in 2010 bought their first chocolate-making equipment. Their chocolate captures and highlights the subtle flavor nuances in the cacao they source from around the world, with the goal to make an enjoyable chocolate experience for us.
Do you remember your first experience with real chocolate? What was it?
Chocolate chip cookies and German chocolate cake! My mom was always baking so I guess my first experience with chocolate came in baked good form.
Dick Taylor is considered a pioneer in craft chocolate, how has craft chocolate evolved since you started?
There were very few makers when we started! Thanks to pioneers like Taza and Askinosie, cacao beans become much more available to makers like us. A lot of consumers were excited about craft chocolate simply because it was new and two-ingredient chocolate was something they had never experienced before. Today consumers are much more familiar with craft chocolate and two-ingredient chocolate is more widely made. Because of that, we are always striving to improve our texture and processing to lead the pack in silky chocolate!
For someone trying Dick Taylor Chocolate for the first time, what chocolate would you give them to try?
Madagascar, Sambirano! This is the first bean we ever worked with and is a great industry benchmark for comparing maker to maker. It's a consistent bean to work with and is an exciting, fruity flavor profile for a new consumer. It's just a great example overall of craft chocolate in comparison to 'industrial' chocolate and candy bars.
What similarities do woodworking and craft chocolate share?
So many similarities! With both processes, you take a raw ingredient and go through a series of different steps to turn it into your finished refined product. There's no magic machine that takes the raw ingredient and creates the finished product. In both processes, you have to use many different specialized machines for each step.
What chocolate are you eating from other makers these days?
We're new to milk chocolate and we look so we spend a lot of time eating other phenomenal milk chocolate from OmNom and Fruition (Brian Graham is the king of milk!). We still snack on a large tub of OmNom milk chocolate samples that we scored at the Northwest Chocolate Festival!
How do you select the cacao you work with?
Adam Dick vets all of our new cacao. If it's an origin that will be a mainstay in our line, we consider the cacao's flavor, quality, availability, growing practices, and ethics. We want to make sure we choose farmers who can grow with us. If it's an origin that will be apart of our Limited Release line (very small batches), we look for flavors that are diverse and drastically different than our typical line of single origins. We also love to find a bean that is not widely available or is just starting to become available such as the Colombia, Palomino farmed by the Arhuacos!
What is your favorite terroir to work with?
My favorite would be nutty, earthy, fudgy flavor profiles like Bolivia, Fiji, and Solomon Islands.
You make several inclusion bars, are you noticing more inclusion bars being made? Where is its place in the craft chocolate world?
Yes we're noticing that! Our top sellers are inclusion bars. It's the fun playful side of craft chocolate where you can experiment with pairings and textures. It's also a great gateway into craft chocolate for the new consumer who is used to sweeter milk chocolates. One of our best sellers is our Brown Butter dark chocolate which has a creamier, slightly sweeter profile compared to our other dark chocolate.
How can we all help promote craft chocolate and chocolate in general?
Educate yourself and research the chocolate brand you're buying to know the faces behind the chocolate. Support your local chocolate makers! Those craft makers should be telling the story behind the chocolate and the cacao, as well as, their relationship with the farmers. Transparent trade helps us support the farmers and the craft chocolate industry.
What does the future hold for Dick Taylor Chocolate?
Our future holds more diversity in our line of chocolate! We've just started making milk chocolate with A2/A2 whole milk from our local dairy Alexandre Family Farm. The possibilities are endless!
We want to thank Dustin for taking the time to answer our questions, and we hope you learned more about Dustin and Dick Taylor Chocolate.
You can shop the entire Dick Taylor Chocolate collection on our store.
To get started with craft chocolate, start with our Kekao Box. We search the world for the finest chocolate bars and bring them right to your doorstep monthly. From rich dark Peruvian chocolate bars to new start-up chocolate bars on the come-up, you never know what you'll get inside the box! Each month we will curate 4 to 5 premium specialty-crafted chocolate bars.
If you want to just try a couple of bars, check out our online chocolate store.
If you have any questions regarding this blog, our Kekao Box, or premium specialty-crafted chocolate bars, feel free to contact us! Keep up with us by subscribing to our newsletter or following us on Twitter, and Instagram.