It isn't every day that a pair of HSU grads working as carpenters and musicians stumble upon and capture an up-and-coming specialty food market but that's exactly what's happened to Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor, founders of Dick Taylor Chocolates. "There were others in the industry that had paved the way by educating the public about craft chocolate," Taylor explained. "So when we started the company in 2010, the market was primed. We've been trying to keep up with demand ever since."
According to Taylor, the company uses only organic cacao and organic cane sugar in their chocolate and the production process takes more than a month to complete. "By not taking shortcuts in our process, we can leave out vanilla, additional cocoa butter or other emulsifiers, and capture and highlight the subtle flavor nuances in the cacao we source from around the world," he said.
The chocolate is wrapped in labels produced in-house featuring art created by Taylor's brother and the founders have drawn on the help and expertise of other family and friends as their business grew. They now have 9 part-time employees. "But we've been backordered 30 days. It is hard to complain about success but it is like we created a monster," Taylor mused. "And we have to keep feeding it chocolate."
The company won their first Good Food Award for their 72% Belize, Toledo chocolate at the GFA in San Francisco, which has increased demand for the Arcata-made chocolate even more.
Fortunately, a recent AEDC loan used to purchase equipment should help. The conche, a vintage and fully restored machine from Italy, grinds and mills the chocolate and sugar until smooth and then aerates, heats and stirs the mixture for 48 hours to create a unique flavor profile. "We're suckers for old pieces of equipment," Taylor admitted, " And we'll be able to process about 900 pounds at a time."
Currently Dick Taylor Chocolates can be found locally, nationally and in Europe, Canada and Australia. Distribution begins in Japan Fall of 2015.