We at Barkeater Chocolates are proud of the high quality chocolate we handmake and sell. Just one truffle weighs .6 ounces, but the amount of work that goes into it is quite surprising. In fact, it takes multiple people and a careful process to get that bar to the front of the store.
First off, let’s start with the chocolate itself. As most people know, and anyone who reads these posts know, cacao is grown outside of the United States in warm (AKA Hot) climates. It’s harvested, roasted and separated into cocoa powder and cocoa butter. From there, the couverture is shipped to us. Our couverture comes in 10 pound blocks and is stocked in our newly renovated production room, ready to be turned into Barkeater Chocolate!
Our chocolatiers are the ones who handle the chocolate blocks. At Barkeater, our chocolatiers come in early to start making our chocolate treats. Every night, the broken up blocks are put into Otto, one of our many chocolate tempering machines. Otto will deposit the tempered chocolate in exact measurements so your chocolates are always consistent. If the item being made requires less chocolate, such as a truffle, the chocolate will be melted in one of our smaller tempering machines, which works using the seed method; an open bowl that heats and cools the chocolate to the perfect temperature. Once the chocolate is tempered, the chocolatiers add our secret ingredients & all natural inclusions that make Barkeater Chocolates unique. From there, our chocolatiers fill the molds, pipe or add inclusions, and put the chocolates in the cooling closet at the perfect temperature to set. Once hardened and inspected for no white spots or cracks (bloom), the chocolate is finished off with decorations, if necessary, and placed on covered racks for our next team.
The packagers will come in later in the morning to open the store. Using the chocolate on the trays that were made earlier, the packagers will either hand wrap the chocolate or run the chocolates through Flo, our flow-wrapping machine. The packaged chocolate is then inspected, stamped with a lot number and expiration date and put into their designated bulk packaging. Everything is inspected before being put on a shelf, entered into our inventory system, and double counted again before shipping to customers.
Our retail workers, who often package as well, spend the most time in the store. Besides the obvious duty of helping customers fulfil their needs and cravings, they also stock and clean the store. This is where communication between the chocolatiers and retail associates come in. Once an item in the store is beginning to look low, the associate will go back to remove backstocked items from the shelves. Retail associates are also responsible for merchandising.
While all the above team members make the factory and store run, there are so many more fun roles at Barkeater! Our Flavor Advisory Council is responsible for tasting beta chocolates invented by the chocolatiers and often inspired by popular customer suggestions! We also have team members who travel to visit retail partners, attend trade shows and demo our chocolates to chocolate loving people! And of course, we can’t forget about those behind the scenes writers who contribute blog posts for our customers! 😉