Edible Innovations: Founding a Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Factory

From Singapore to the USA and all around Europe, Edible Innovations profiles food makers that engage in improving the global food system at every stage, from production to distribution to eating and shopping. Join us as we explore the main trends in the industry from a maker perspective. Chiara Cecchini of Food Innovation Program — an ecosystem with a strong educational core that promotes food innovation as a key tool to tackle the great challenges of the future — introduces you to the faces, stories, and experiences of food makers around the globe. Check back on Tuesdays and Thursdays for new installments.

Todd Masonis and Cameron Ring both used to work at a tech company called Plaxo they founded in 2001. They sold the company to Comcast in 2008 and left in 2009. After the sale, they both found themselves with the opportunity to pursue latent interests. One of Masonis’ main ones was chocolate.

“I’ve always had a sweet tooth,” said Masonis, “and I was curious to know more about chocolate and how to make it. That’s what precipitated us taking over a friend’s garage to set up a tiny factory.”

Chocolate Makers

When the two first started out, they were not intending to create a chocolate company. They did not have a detailed business plan or ten-year financial projections, they were simply making chocolate to see if they could.

They soon discovered that they were actually a part of a new maker movement in chocolate. Many people were discovering new possible flavors with rediscovered chocolate making techniques. When Masonis and Ring started in 2010, there were only a handful of small companies (just over 200) making chocolate from the bean in America.

However, start-ups like Masonis and Ring’s are making that number grow. “We are proud to be part of this broader movement and shift that is happening in chocolate” said Masonis. The two decided to pursue chocolate making as a career and co-founded Dandelion Chocolate

New York Gets Its First Chocolate Museum

If you’re in New York City and have a craving for some chocolate, there are plenty of establishments that can satisfy that desire, from Max Brenner near Union Square to The Chocolate Room in Brooklyn. But if you’re interested in learning about the rich and creamy history of the sweet (and maybe want to eat some too), then you might want to visit Choco-Story New York, The Chocolate Museum and Experience with Jacques Torres.

The SoHo museum opened its doors on Tuesday to chocolate fans hungry for sweet trivia. Unlike last year’s Museum of Ice Cream, the…