Search results: "Upchurch"

Upchurch Chocolate Unboxing and Review

Alex Brito agreed to meet up with me at Lamplighter, a local coffee shop in Richmond, to chat about chocolate. My siblings joined me for the morning because they were eager to meet one of the names behind Upchurch Chocolate. Alex smoothly sailed up to my siblings and I on a longboard (I think that’s what it’s called) and handed me a simple yet elegant box emblazoned with the Upchurch hot air balloon logo and filled with several of his bars. This was the first time I had met up in person with a chocolate maker who was so generous to share the product of their hard work with me! Go here to watch my unboxing!

Alex and his friend Alexander Burlingame originally started Upchurch together after trying some high quality chocolate and getting hooked onto the flavor punch. Alex told me that he was working TWO JOBS on top of maintaining Upchurch with two other people helping him with the chocolate making process. His plan was to drop one of the jobs so he could put more focus on Upchurch. Alexander has had to leave Upchurch due to a geographical and career move (best wishes to him!), leaving Alex Brito solely in charge. Upchurch to this day remains as the first and only bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Richmond!

I highly recommend checking out this article to learn more about the backstory of Upchurch chocolate and how the Richmond community, including my alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University, helped rally around and support Upchurch!

When Alex chatted with us, he shared his thoughts on changing the packaging of his bars. They are bright and colorful to begin with, but the original design was quickly put together. This time he was able to put more thought into the design he wanted on his bars, putting his graphic design skills to great use. The new packaging will still maintain their bright, colorful appearance, but (if they continue with the design examples we were shown) the packaging will contain images that will portray the personality of each bar. You’ll have to see for yourself when the new look is launched!

I’m still blown away by Alex’s generosity in sharing so many of his bars with me, and I absolutely had to share them on Time To Eat Chocolate!

Every bar has the same mold which reflects the fabric pattern seen in the hot air balloon logo.

I’m starting with what I know is my favorite, The Sassy Bar! If you aren’t sure what flavors you could be tasting in this 72% Madagascar bar, Upchurch has helpful tips on the back of the bar saying they tasted raspberries, fruit punch and lemonade. The bar had a bright fruity and partially earthy scent. The flavor was tart with bright fruity flavor notes that definitely reminded me of lemonade and raspberries.

The Bouncy Bar contains goat milk. The flavor notes listed by Upchurch are frosted flakes, jam and vanilla. The bar had a sour scent that reminded me of cheese. Admittedly I’ve never had goat milk before, so I’m not sure what to expect. The goat milk flavor wasn’t as strong as the scent. To me the flavor reminded me very much of goat cheese. I can’t say I tasted any of the notes that were listed on the bar’s packaging, but the boyfriend liked the tangy flavor that the goat milk gave the chocolate. It reminded him of the goats on his grandmother’s farm 🙂

The Party Bar had a subtle woody and berry scent. The tasting notes are listed a birthday cake, peach and blueberry. Immediately once it was in my mouth, I tasted what reminded me of moist birthday cake, caramel and some tartness mixed with berry flavor. The flavors evolved into subtle but bright berry and fruity flavors. Then my bite ended with some astringency and caramel flavor. Now I’m going to want to eat some cake 🙂

The Hype Bar contains coffee and the tasting notes listed for it were s’mores, rocky road ice cream and Oreos. Earlier this week I ate the equivalent of a package of the new mocha Oreos (I have no shame), so I’m totally ready for this bar! The scent of the bar was strongly of coffee and what reminded me of bourbon or whiskey with some sweetness of mead. I tasted the coffee first followed by what reminded me of apples and honey. The fruity and sweet flavors drowned out the coffee midway through my bite. It wasn’t until toward the end that I tasted the coffee again with lingering fruitiness. I didn’t feel like I tasted Oreos, but its good to know that some people may experience that flavor in this bar 🙂

Alex told me that he wanted to grind down the nibs more to give the chocolate a smoother texture. The bars used to have a grittier texture, which I definitely did not mind at all! I could see that Alex successfully obtained the smooth texture he wanted 🙂 I think The Sassy Bar remains as my top favorite bar out of the four followed by the Hype Bar since that was a very interesting flavor experience for me.

If you are in Richmond or plan on stopping by there, go to For the Love of Chocolate or the Union Market to pick up and try some of Alex’s bars! If you can’t drop by, you can always place an order online.

Upchurch Chocolate: Made in Richmond, VA


50 States: Virginia – Upchurch

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I’m going to make a confession… This isn’t my first time trying Upchurch. No, I don’t mean when I first reviewed them on here, I mean a time before that. I had just started writing Time To Eat Chocolate and my taste buds had not matured enough to appreciate craft chocolate, so at the time I didn’t quite know what to expect or how to properly taste chocolate. It’s now a year or so later, and I’m glad to give Upchurch another try!

I first heard about Upchurch through my sister, who had originally sent me three of their bars. Upchurch is the only chocolate maker I know of who is based out of Richmond. Had I known about them while I was attending college in Richmond, and had my palate been more refined as it is now, I would have been a loyal and regular customer!

According to their website, the name “Upchurch” was taken from an old family name from one of the founders of the chocolate company in an effort to carry on the lineage when there was no one else to take the name. The hot air balloon picture on all of the bars symbolizes “carrying on,” and to enjoy the journey of getting to a destination. Additionally, hot air balloons will always land in a different place than where it took off. I personally see it as a creative way of keeping the family name alive and strong in the upcoming years through a company where it will be associated with a pleasant item: chocolate!

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The tasting notes on this bar listed raspberries, fruit punch and lemon. It smelled faintly citrusy and like berries and the bar tasted citrusy and tart at first. The chocolate’s texture was a little gritty, but not as gritty as Taza’s chocolate. The chocolate melted relatively quickly on my tongue! The tartness disappeared halfway through my bite, but the citrus flavor remained as mellow fruity notes worked their way up. In the aftertaste I was left with that mellow fruitiness with a touch of citrus.

I liked this bar! I’m so glad I got to try Upchurch again with improved taste buds! Hopefully as I keep trying new chocolates my taste buds will continue to mature and be able to detect more subtle notes in chocolate.

Upchurch: Made in Richmond, VA

Other chocolate makers in Virginia:

Altus Chocolate

Frolic Chocolate

Potomac Chocolate

Shark Mountain Coffee

Tightrope Chocolate

Don’t forget to check out Eating the Chocolate Alphabet to see what state and chocolate maker Trish is covering next!

These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.

Altus Chocolate

When I first picked up this bar at For the Love of Chocolate in Richmond, VA, I didn’t recognize the name at all and I thought they were a brand new chocolate maker based out of Lynchburg, VA. I had completely forgotten that they used to be called Cao Artisan Chocolate and they experienced a name change due to some shop in Florida already having claimed the same name.

If you want to learn more about Altus Chocolate’s beginnings, head to my first time trying their chocolate when a dear friend gave me a box of their chocolate with a helpful flavor guide. Since their website has been revamped, I’ve now learned that Altus can use honey, dates and maple syrup as natural sweeteners in their chocolate. I’ve heard of honey and syrup being used in place of cane sugar, but not dates!

I’m glad to see that Virginia is slowly gaining more craft/bean-t0-bar chocolate makers. We have Potomac Chocolate, Upchurch and Altus to date. And Altus now has a second location in Roanoke, VA! I hope to some day go to an Altus store in person and experience their lounge.

The interior of the packaging mentions that Altus uses dates, honey and maple when possible as sweeteners rather than just cane sugar. 

Description for what the name “Altus” means.

The front of the packaging lists the flavor of the bar as “light bright fruity notes of mango, peach and lemon with a gentle sweetness like wildflower honey”. The bar definitely smelled fruity. The initial flavor was slightly astringent with honey and bright fruity notes. I mostly taste mango and a touch of citrus, that lemon flavor mentioned in the description. My bite finished with not only bright fruitiness and the sweetness of honey, but nuttiness. A coworker tried this bar with me and said they definitely tasted citrus/lemon but that the texture seemed powdery to them. Personally I didn’t find the bar powdery but it had a fine gritty texture.

The same coworker also commented that the bar didn’t taste “dark”! This is something I’ve been gradually working on with some of my coworkers, especially those who think all dark chocolate is bitter. I’m hoping to pick up more Altus bars next time I stop at For the Love of Chocolate. Or maybe I’ll just have to take a trip to Lynchburg and visit one of their stores.

Altus Chocolate: Made in Lynchburg, VA



What’s on my wall?

A while ago I posted on Instagram a picture of chocolate wrappers/boxes I had framed and hung on my wall. Several people asked me why I hung up the bars that I did, and that’s a very good question! Today I’m giving you a close up and my thoughts behind each picture frame.

Several of these bars I like because of personal experiences and you’ll get to know me more because several of these bars brought out memories. Not all of these bars blew me away with their flavor. I’ll give more details when I get to such bars. Remember, if everyone were to make their own chocolate wall, they would all be completely different because everyone has their own stories and experiences. The book “Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love” by Simran Sethi helped me understand that how we experience various foods is different based upon our personal stories and background.

We’re starting off with Beau Cacao’s 72% Serian Malaysia bar! What immediately attracted me was their appearance and eye for detail. Every inch of this bar, packaging and mold, screamed luxury and beauty. And it’s affordable at 8 British Pounds! If your friends aren’t blown away by other craft chocolate that you’ve been introducing them to, you can at least grab their attention with this bad boy. The reason why this bar is on my wall is for their unique appearance as well as the unique and exciting flavor combination. If you want to read more on my thoughts about this bar, go my post about Beau Cacao here.

One of my first coffee + chocolate bars by a craft chocolate maker was this Mocha bar by Hello Cocoa. I remember meeting one of the chocolate makers at the first D.C. Chocolate Festival and the guy was all smiles and so friendly. Since then, Hello Cocoa has generously allowed me to try all of their bars and I still hope to one day try their bonbons and truffles. This mocha bar has stayed on my mind even though I’ve tried it more than once and it showed me that I really like coffee/mocha in chocolate. If you want to read my previous posts on Hello Cocoa, go here.

The main reason why I’m partial to Glenmade is because they are based out of New Jersey, my home state where I was born and raised. They’re even based out of Hoboken, where I dreamed as a child I would one day live and work because I was attracted to the city life but understood NYC was crazy expensive (now I live in the metropolitan area of D.C.). As much flack as people give New Jersey, where I grew up played a large part of who I am today. I grew up in the western part of the state where there was a corn field behind my house and chickens running around in the backyard. I also really enjoyed the blackberry flavor I experienced with this Glenmade bar. You can read more of my thoughts and experience on Glenmade in my previous post on them here.

I had never experienced blueberries in chocolate until I tried Brasstown’s blueberry bar. I immediately fell in love and I’ve had this bar at least three times now! Brasstown has since changed their packaging, but I wish they had kept this old style. The texture of the box felt nice and the watercolor-looking picture of a blueberry bush reminded me of the countryside. My family used to grow blueberries when we lived in New Jersey. I wanted to preserve the old appearance of this bar. Gearharts and Kacau are the only other brands I’ve tried who have used blueberries in their chocolate, but none of them impressed me as much as Brasstown. If you want to read my first experience trying this bar, go here.

Upchurch is on my wall because they’re the only chocolate maker based out of Richmond, VA, the city of my alma mater. To be honest, I wasn’t in love with Richmond when I first started studying there. It took graduating, moving out of Virginia, revisiting Richmond multiple times and then learning that they had their own chocolate maker that helped me start to fall in love with it. Upchurch plans on changing their packaging, and even if the original wrapper was a quick design (learned through a conversation with Alex Brito), I like the simplicity of it. The parallel lines remind me of wallpaper in a southern home. If you want to learn more about the story behind Upchurch and my thoughts on their bars, check out my previous posts here.

Chocotenango is one of my local chocolate makers being one of the three based out of Washington, D.C. Ismael is friendly and approachable and I’ve enjoyed all of my conversations with him, whether in person or online. At the time of my writing this, I’ve been able to say hi to him at weekend farmer’s markets a few times where he has a table set up. Every time I speak with him, it’s more of my listening to him passionately talk about his craft and I love it! I always walk away feeling inspired and educated. I’m on a mission now to try all of his bars because I’ve enjoyed all of them! I was pleasantly surprised that my post on some of Ismael’s bonbons was helpful for a fellow chocoholic who couldn’t find much information on them otherwise. It’s so encouraging to hear my blog helping someone else! If you want to read more on Ismael and Chocotenango, check out my previous posts here.

Will Marx is so down to earth. I was impressed with how approachable and open he was to talk about anything chocolate related. He’s also been very generous to send me some of his silk cocoa butter so I could try my hand at retempering chocolate! Will informed me that the labeling on this package is not entirely correct, but don’t fret because I will replace this with another of his bars when I next make an order from him. Will has also made some interesting combinations, like when I got to try for the first time dried corn in chocolate. I’m definitely keeping an eye on Wm. Chocolate for new and exciting flavor combinations. You can read my previous posts on trying Will’s chocolate here.

Harper Macaw is another chocolate maker that is local to me and based out of Washington, D.C. Besides their mocha bar, this Amazon Rainforest bar is my favorite by them. I’ve enjoyed it at least three times and it was the first bar I tried that truly tasted like raisins to me. Any time I get the chance to purchase Harper Macaw, I throw this bar into my order. I have yet to take their factory tour and I really need to someday. If you want to learn more about other Harper Macaw bars that I’ve tried, check out my older posts here.

This bar is on my wall because I really like its texture. Thanks to Cacao Review, I later learned that the sugar in Amano bars is not ground down all the way, leaving nice larger chunks to crunch on. After my parents moved to Utah and I started learning about chocolate makers based out there, I was excited to try bars that were made local to my parents. Cacao Review is also based out of Utah 😉 My mom has generously shared a lot of her chocolate with her friends out there. Many of those friends also enjoyed the texture of this bar and didn’t even know that Amano was in their state. To read more about other Amano bars I’ve tried, go here.

My first exposure to Amedei was through Instagram. My first purchase of their Chuao bar was at the first D.C. Chocolate Festival and I remember feeling very little confidence approaching their table since at the time I was still getting my feet wet with trying craft chocolate and Time To Eat Chocolate was still relatively new. I didn’t know how to relate to chocolate makers. After experiencing an Amedei chocolate tasting at The Chocolate House, I gained some confidence in learning how to taste chocolate, confidence in learning more about how chocolate was made and I learned more about Amedei’s story. Though the Chuao bar has been one of the most expensive bars I’ve purchased, it still stands as one of my favorite brands because of their complex flavor stories. Their chocolate hazelnut spread is amazing too! Choosing only one Amedei bar to frame was hard, but I chose their white chocolate pistachio bar because I had this thought that white chocolate was not chocolate at all, until Marisol at The Chocolate House told me it technically is (made with cocoa butter). The flavor of this bar and Marisol’s tip helped forever change the way I see and experience white chocolate. I’m now a believer, at least of white chocolate by craft chocolate makers 😉 To see what other Amedei bars I’ve tried, go here.

I used to shy away from trying chocolate bars with chili or other strong spices in them because I didn’t really have a palate that could tolerate spice well. As I learned more about craft chocolate makers and trying their bars, I knew that I would have to eventually accept and be able to appreciate chili in chocolate. Cacao Prieto left a lasting impression because they were one of the very few subtle spicy bars that helped me get used to experiencing a burning sensation when eating chocolate. I also just really liked the flavor of this bar overall. To see more of my thoughts on this bar, check out my post here.

This Steelgrass bar is special to me not only because it’s grown and made in Hawaii, the only North American state where cacao can be grown, but because of the farm’s mission to help restore the natural beauty and plant life of their land before they experienced damage from WWII. In a ways it feels like a long time and very little time has passed since that war ended, and to see it come up again and learn how it has left a lasting effect on the Hawaiian islands opened my eyes to see the harm that war literally takes on land. I think it’s amazing that Steelgrass is attempting to restore the biodiversity of their island, Kauai, and to educate and encourage locals to help them with their mission. To see more of my thoughts on this bar, go here.

Durci caught my attention through their packaging. I’ve always enjoyed space-related images and this packaging fed that interest. I remember picking up this Taino 70% bar at Jane’s J. Chocolatier shop. She said not many people were purchasing the Durci bars she had on display and thought it was a shame. If Jane liked Durci, then I needed to try them! Sure enough, I also liked this bar and it is my top favorite Durci bar out of the six I’ve tried. To see more of my thoughts and why I like specifically the Taino bar, go here!

When Jane of J. Chocolatier had her shop in Georgetown, D.C., I used to stop by very often. Like, every weekend if not throughout the week. If I wasn’t getting her truffles, I was trying out the Francois Pralus bars she had on display. Unfortunately all of those bars I tried long before I started recording what brands and bars I had tasted, but this Chuao bar I didn’t recall seeing at J. Chocolatier. The square packaging was different from the rectangular shape of the other Pralus bars. To be honest, I wasn’t head over heels for the flavor of this bar.

This bar is on my wall because it reminds of the days when I would visit Georgetown and therefore J. Chocolatier often after work. J. Chocolatier was the first chocolate shop I had ever gone to that made their own confections. Before that, I had only ever been to For the Love of Chocolate where they sell a variety of chocolate products but don’t create any. The fact that J. Chocolatier was in Georgetown, an area filled with shopping and restaurants, and in a city, I experienced that feeling of, “Wow, I’m finally doing this!” kind of moment. It felt fancy and I had never been able to experience a feeling like that growing up in New Jersey or while attending college in Richmond. Since then, J. Chocolatier has moved out of Georgetown and she’s set up a pop-up shop near the East Market metro station. For my thoughts on the Francois Pralus bars I’ve tried, go here.

Remember back at the Amedei white chocolate + pistachio bar I said I used to not like white chocolate at all until that bar changed my life and perception of white chocolate? This Fruition strawberries and cream did the same thing. It was SO delicious that I ate all of it within an hour and had a very hard time sharing any of it with my boyfriend. This bar has remained in my memory and… you know what, it’s still in stock on Fruition’s website. I might just order a second bar. You also can read why this bar has stuck with me here.

Potomac Chocolate is another local chocolate maker to me, and even though Ben Rasmussen is planning on changing his packaging, I always enjoyed the minimal, clean appearance of his packaging and straightforward mold. The first bar I tried by him was the coconut one followed by the San Martin, Peru. I recently tried his sourdough bread and spice blend bars, which were also very good! I always enjoy supporting my local chocolate makers and I wish Ben the best as his business continues to grow. To see what other bars I’ve tried by Potomac Chocolate, go here.

Undone is another chocolate maker that is local to me and based out of Washington, D.C. Since I currently work in a research lab, I was really happy to learn that Adam came from a scientific background before diving into his own chocolate business. What makes this bar special to me was that I didn’t like chili or any hot spices in chocolate for a long time. As I mentioned for the Cacao Prieto Domincan Spice bar, I used to not enjoy spicy chocolate and this Undone bar was spicier than Dominican Spice. But this bar slowly grew on me and I’ve now bought it several times. I think because of the cinnamon and cardamom to add sweetness and other layers of spiciness, I started to learn to appreciate the slow burn of chili. I’m now more likely to try dark chocolate with various spices because of Undone. If you want to see what other Undone bars I’ve tried (and my favorite Bolivian Amazon that’s now discontinued 🙁 ), go here.

Ritual’s Novo Coffee was another one of the first coffee + chocolate bars I had tried. Why is it on my wall? Simply because I like the minimalist depiction of tree and mountains. Also for some reason this bar has also just stuck with me as a bar I need to try again. I remember I wasn’t absolutely in love with it, but I want to give it a second chance now that my taste buds have had more time to mature. Seeing this on my wall reminds me that I need to try more Ritual bars at some point. To see what I originally thought about the Novo Coffee bar, go here.

Why is Amedei on my wall twice? Because I like them so much! I’ve definitely had their Toscano Red bar, like, probably five times or more. I think I’ve lost count! 🙂 It’s addictive, delicious and one of my favorite combinations is berries in chocolate. I think out of every craft chocolate bar I’ve tried, this one is the most I’ve eaten. The packaging is also pretty, which doesn’t hurt. Seriously, you need to try this bar if you haven’t! To see why I rave over this bar, you can read my thoughts on it here.

When I first started my journey into trying craft chocolate, I kept seeing Dick Taylor all over Instagram. I had a hard time finding them sold in stores local to me, so I broke down and eventually made one of my first chocolate online orders around Christmas-time. I was curious about the maple and coconut combination. This was unique to me at the time, and I’m glad I tried it! I have purchased this bar least a couple of times now and I’ve enjoyed every bite. I was also intrigued by the story of the owners having been involved in the boat building business before making chocolate. I love it when I see chocolate makers allow previous career influences to be reflected in their bars or packaging. This is similar to Maverick, which is coming up soon. To see my thoughts on my this bar, go here.

Just like Amedei’s white chocolate + pistachio and Fruition’s strawberries and cream bars, La Naya’s white chocolate + pistachio + cocoa nibs bar also changed the way I had originally felt about white chocolate. This bar had something of a browned butter flavor to it that was addictive. One of my coworkers actually introduced me to La Naya through this bar when they purchased it during the second Washington D.C. Chocolate Festival (which I wasn’t able to attend). This bar left such a positive impression that I had to try the rest of the La Naya bars! La Naya was generous to share some of their products with me, which you can read about here.

These last three bars are hanging on another wall and I couldn’t fit them into my original photo at the very top of this post. The lighting was hitting the frames in a way that would cause a lot of glare (I was using natural light), so I had to take photos at an angle.

You know how I was mentioning that I love how chocolate makers allow other influences to be reflected in their chocolate or packaging? One of the Maverick chocolate maker’s background in aviation engineering is shown here and you can’t help but admire the vintage depictions of flight on each bar. The chocolate itself was also delicious. I actually recently revisited Bluprint Chocolatier where I first saw and purchased Maverick and I tried to convince my friends with me to try them as well 🙂 To see my thoughts on this bar (it didn’t last long in my hands), go here.

I actually wanted to frame Solstice’s Wasatch bar because I fell in love with it, but that wrapper got destroyed after I shared it with others 🙁 I had to use the Ecuador wrapper in its place. I’m planning on getting Wasatch again at some point in the future, though! I sent Solstice bars to my mother for Mother’s Day, and she also liked the Wasatch bar the most. Solstice was one of the first chocolate makers I tried who uses resealable wrappers and I really appreciated being able to ensure my chocolate stayed fresh in between bites. Potomac Chocolate is currently planning to make a change for resealable packaging and I fully support that effort! To see my thoughts on both the Wasatch and Ecuador bars, go here.

We end my wall tour with Akesson’s, which I couldn’t ignore. This bar I really liked and I remember I had a hard time sharing it. Yes, I could choose to keep a whole bar to myself, but I find more joy in sharing what makes me happy with others. After trying the 75% Criollo, I remember trying the 100% after hearing good reviews of it. My taste buds weren’t ready for 100% that day, but eventually I will revisit it and I hope I will appreciate it more! I recently picked up a completely different Akesson’s bar that I’ll be trying soon 😉 To see why I liked the 75% Criollo, you can read my thoughts here.

And that’s it! If you’ve made it to this point, you have my gratitude for enduring the length of this tour 🙂 Maybe you agree with some of the bars I hung up and maybe you don’t, but you can always make your own wall of bars and I would absolutely love to see what it looks like! I think a wall like this helps reflect personal tastes and stories that would otherwise not be shared.



Chocolate Makers From The 50 States

“50 States” was about trying one or two chocolate makers from (almost) all 50 Northern American states. Why? Because no one else has done it before! This was also the perfect excuse to try other bars and chocolate makers I hadn’t had before 🙂

When people think about chocolate, usually European chocolate comes to mind. But North America is the home of many, many chocolate makers, and that number keeps growing every year! Why not feature a handful of some the well known and lesser known chocolate makers per state?

Fellow chocolate blogger and chocolate lover, Trish, who writes the blog Eating The Chocolate Alphabet, joined me on the journey of trying chocolate bars from as many chocolate makers as we could per state. Not every state contained a chocolate maker, but hopefully one day that will change. Any state that doesn’t have a chocolate maker will be clearly listed as such, otherwise click on any state to see which chocolate maker we featured!

Feel free to leave a comment below if you know of other chocolate makers we might not yet know about!

Alabama – needs a chocolate maker!

Alaska – needs a chocolate maker!





Connecticut – needs a chocolate maker!





Idaho – needs a chocolate maker!



Iowa – needs a chocolate maker!

Kansas – needs a chocolate maker!



Maine – needs a chocolate maker!





Mississippi – needs a chocolate maker!





New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York (as well as this one)

North Carolina

North Dakota – needs a chocolate maker!


Oklahoma – needs a chocolate maker!



Rhode Island – needs a chocolate maker!

South Carolina

South Dakota – needs a chocolate maker!







Washington, D.C.

West Virginia – needs a chocolate maker!


Wyoming – needs a chocolate maker!

Staying (Kind of) Local Part 7


My Staying Local posts have been focused on chocolate mainly made in the metro Washington, D.C., area. But at the D.C. Chocolate Festival I learned about more chocolatiers and chocolate makers who are based out of other parts of Virginia. (The northern part of Virginia is considered part of the metro D.C. area while the central and southern parts of Virginia are vastly different in cultural aspects.)


I had first heard about Upchurch through my sister, who is discovering her love her dark chocolate. She’s been a wonderful source of news and for keeping an ear out for any chocolate makers or chocolatiers that we haven’t tried yet who are based out of Richmond. Upchurch seems to be relatively new to the Richmond area, and doesn’t have a story on their website on how they started up (I like reading those kinds of stories!), but it’s great to see that they’re growing and have their products sold at various retail stores.


Maybe surprisingly, this was the first time I’ve seen a bar where they list what kind of notes the consumer could/should detect from a chocolate.


I could smell the coffee from this bar upon unwrapping it. The texture was grainy, but not dry. I immediately tasted the acidity and earthiness of the dark chocolate, as well as the coffee. I actually did taste notes of Oreos as the packaging said! Not so much of s’mores and rocky road ice cream, but definitely Oreos. Maybe I can relate to the flavor of Oreos better. Usually I like my chocolate to be smooth, but this bar and Taza chocolate are going to be the grainy texture exceptions. The grainy-ness of this bar helped me further believe that real coffee grounds were used, which is always great!

Upchurch: Made in Richmond, VA


Opening the packaging for Potomac Chocolate was like opening a gift. Maybe every bar that has multiple layers of unwrapping makes me feel like a gift you’re anxious to reveal the prize 🙂 I really like the simple and crisp style of Potomac’s packaging, and that cute little fish!



I first saw Potomac Chocolate being sold at J. Chocolatier’s store when Jane had her location in Georgetown, D.C. But it wasn’t until now that I finally picked up a bar. I first watched a video about Potomac Chocolate and Ben (the founder) showing how his chocolate making started up. It’s inspiring and neat to see that out of your own home you can make your own chocolate! Sure, I had heard it was possible, but it’s another thing to see physically what tools people can use in their own kitchens or homes. If I ever decide to make my own chocolate, Ben is going to be a large source of inspiration.

I really liked how with this chocolate bar I could see the coconut bits. I could easily taste them as well, with their light fruitiness and almost buttery coconut flavor mellowing out the slight acidity from the dark chocolate. I liked this bar! Because strong acidity can upset my stomach, I’m glad this one wasn’t too overwhelming in that department.

Potomac Chocolates: Made in Woodbridge, VA



I don’t know anything about Chocolate Con Amor, and there’s only a brief description on their website from the owner proclaiming his love of chocolate. I had to laugh aloud when he mentions “bland chocolates folded into brown wrappers.” We all know who he is referring to 😉 I guess we’ll just go straight to the chocolate because i don’t know what else to say about Con Amor except for some reason his face kind of reminds me of Jackson Galaxy.

I’m not a huge fan of goat milk in chocolate because sour isn’t a flavor I’m into. But this bar was lighter on the sour flavor than others, and I greatly appreciate that! I could smell the goat milk once I unwrapped the bar and expected to get a mouthful of sour flavors, but I was pleasantly surprised to get the smooth flavor of the milk chocolates with the goat milk lingering in the background.

The back of the 75% Dominican bar mentions that the consumer could taste notes of caramel and toffee in the chocolate, and it was completely correct! Usually I have a hard time detecting all the minute notes in dark chocolate, but this was on point!

Chocolate Con Amor: Made in Berryville, VA

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