Cacao Prieto (Beans-to-bar) – Brooklyn

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Currently known as the mecca of “Sweet Hipsters”, Brooklyn has gained more and more space in the regional and international market in the production of chocolates. After talking about the Mast Brothers, now it’s time to talk about Cacao Prieto, one of the few chocolate brands that has a vertically integrated chain from the planting of the grain to the making and selling of the chocolate bars. Detail: everything organic.
And it was on an unpretentiously hot afternoon that I met Cacao Prieto. Installed in a huge “vintage” warehouse in the Red Hook region, the brand was founded by Daniel Prieto Preston, a genius inventor who one day decided to study the science of cocoa and decided that he would produce “bean-to-bar” chocolates using as raw material, the cocoa that the family plants at Fazenda Coralina, in the Dominican Republic.
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Understanding the market potential for a product like this and knowing the quality of the cocoa he already had on hand, Daniel reinvented the machines used commercially to extract and separate cocoa by-products and better, in addition to creating his own brand, he patented the changes made in the technology of chocolate production, also selling hightech machinery to other companies in the industry… And he also owns another company called Cacao Biotechnologies, dedicated to the cosmetic research of the antioxidant benefits of cocoa, that is, the guy is a genius .
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The process is briefly like this: Cacao Prieto receives the “single origin” cocoa, organic certified directly from the Farm to the Factory in Brooklyn – this means that the already fermented cocoa beans arrive still full of vitality and without the use of fumicides or pesticides to preserve them, which already makes all the difference in flavor.
Once in the factory, they are taken to the oven at high temperatures to dry and develop the aromas, especially the flavors. Then the beans are broken and the pulp is separated from the husk. This toasted pulp gives rise to three distinct products: nibs, cocoa mass and cocoa butter. The nibs are marketed as full-flavored crunching agents, the cocoa butter returns to the process later, during the making of the bar, and it is from the cocoa mass that the chocolate powder originates and with the addition of other ingredients, all types of chocolates with different percentages of cocoa. Here in Cacao Prieto the only type produced is 72%, as they make sure to maintain the antioxidant characteristic of cocoa in their products. This means that you will not find milk chocolate or white chocolate here. Even the chocolate bars are made only with dried fruits and organic oilseeds … (no sour cream or ganaches full of sugar and butter) currently in the flavors: cashews and cranberries, pistachios and dried apricots, cherries and pecan, grapes raisins and salted walnuts and almonds.
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The Factory offers a Chocolate Tour and the guide explains the whole process that I talked about above. The visit begins with an explanation of how the idea came about, while you see pictures of the farm, of the plantation and you have the possibility to take the cocoa bean in your hand, smell it, try the nibs. Then it shows the way from the bags of cocoa to the final product, which are the bars … and you have no idea of ​​the vibrant, intoxicating, mind-blowing smell of chocolate in this space. In the end, back at the shop, she ends by telling the story behind the designs of each package, each flavor of the bar: all the drawings tell stories of Daniel Preston’s family, his grandparents, the grandmother’s tastes, the flirting among them … I left there with the feeling that I had just met the family of a new friend … lol.
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Delight of place. Vibe delight. Product delight. If you are passionate about chocolate it is very worthwhile. There is no way to compare this chocolate with any other available on the market.
Another fantastic idea they had was to produce rum with cocoa. That’s right. During the production of cocoa mass, chocolate fermentation takes place, releasing alcohol as a by-product. At least I had only tasted rum originated from the fermentation of sugar cane until today. From this rum they make chocolate and coffee liqueur – SENSATIONAL! I didn’t mention it before, but attached to the factory is Widow Jane, a premium whiskey distillery, produced “on site” from beginning to end.
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I can say that my visit to this chocolate mecca was unforgettable! I’m already here with me planning when I’ll be back to do it all again… I ended the afternoon strolling around the neighborhood, from where I could see the Statue of Liberty in the distance, in a pink sunset and with the lively taste of chocolate in the mouth and memory.
Perfect.
If you want more information about it, take note of the website www.cacaoprieto.com

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