Since Tucson’s UNESCO designation as a World City of Gastronomy, the farm-to-table game has been stepped up significantly. Soon bean-to-bar chocolate will make its first appearance.
“Tucson is a special place,” said Adam Krantz, owner of Monsoon Chocolate. “There is a genuine interest in preservation of traditional foods. Same reason for why the UNESCO designation happened. People actually care.”
Krantz’s food background includes a position as chef at Tooley’s Cafe, a buyer at the Food Conspiracy Co-op, and grocery manager at Time Market. He then lived in Portland, Oregon where he led the program at World Foods to hold the largest craft chocolate library in the world.
After working so much with chocolate, Krantz started learning the intricacies of making chocolate at home to understand the process better.
“I fell in love with the process and the product,” Krantz said. “Especially the theobroma cacao.”
While craft beer has been booming successfully in Tucson, Krantz is pursuing his chocolate passion instead.
Production hasn’t officially started yet, but Monsoon Chocolate recently secured the space that previously housed tortilleria La Buena. Chocolate bars are expected to hit the shelves in November, while the retail space will be open to the public early 2018.
Five different bars will be available at launch. The Origin Series bars will be minimally processed to showcase terroir. The Desert Series will feature inclusion bars, which highlight flavor combinations such as white chocolate with mesquite pod and desert herbs for the tastes of rainfall in the desert.
The retail space will eventually expand to include a café with coffee, tea and light fare. The next expansion will expand offerings to include other chocolate confectioneries.
“Chocolate has been dominated by huge chocolate conglomerates,” Krantz said.
As a result, most chocolate equipment is made for large scale production. Krantz is adapting unorthodox machinery for small-scale production, such as a vintage Oaxacan molino.
Additionally, Monsoon Chocolate is working with producers from Peru, Ecuador, Tanzania, Southern India, and Trinidad.
“We are one-hundred percent committed to sourcing the most traceable and ethical cacao,” Krantz said.