At Damson, we're fanatical about quality. We use only the best ingredients to make our delicious bean-to-bar chocolate, roasting, grinding, conching, tempering and moulding it into beautiful bars in our North London kitchen.
Founded in 2015, we're lucky enough that our chocolate is already winning awards. Our Madagascar 70% and Ecuador 70% bars both won bronze medals at the 2015 Academy Of Chocolate Awards. We were honoured to also receive a special One To Watch award from the Academy.
Who Are We?
Dom Ramsey has been writing about chocolate since 2006. His blog Chocablog is one of the biggest and longest running chocolate blogs on the web. Dom was co-founder of Cocoa Runners and World Chocolate Guide and has been a judge at the World Chocolate Masters, Academy of Chocolate Awards and International Chocolate Awards.
Dom started making bean-to-bar chocolate at home in 2014, putting some of his knowledge to good use. Quickly becoming hooked on the chocolate making process, and with the support of many industry friends, he decided to make chocolate making a full time career in early 2015.
Dom's first book, Chocolate: Indulge Your Inner Chocoholic was published by DK Books / Penguin Random House in September 2016. The book covers all aspects of the chocolate world, with an emphasis on bean-to-bar production.
What's This Bean To Bar Thing Anyway?
Most of the chocolate bought today is mass produced in large industrial factories by a handful of multinational companies. Beans are purchased in bulk with little or no regard for quality and the resulting chocolate is often low in cocoa and made with vegetable fats.
Bean-to-bar chocolate aims to change all that and put the focus back on quality. By controlling each stage of the process ourselves and paying a little extra for the best quality cocoa beans, we can produce a chocolate that not only tastes great, but also directly benefits cocoa farmers in some of the poorest parts of the world.
We source these beans from around the world where they are carefully fermented and dried before being shipped to us.
When we receive the beans, we first sort them by hand, removing any sticks and stones or imperfect beans. Then we gently roast them to develop the flavour compounds locked inside, before breaking them and removing the shell to reveal the nibs inside. We then simply grind these cocoa nibs with unrefined sugar (and sometimes milk powder) for 24 to 48 hours.
Grinding reduces the particle size, helping create a smooth texture, but also helps develop the natural flavours in the cocoa itself. Chocolate has over 400 distinct flavour notes - more than any other food, so this part of the process is critical.
After grinding, we pour the liquid chocolate out into blocks and let it age for 2-4 weeks. This helps develop the flavour even further - you'd be surprised just how much the flavour changes in the first couple of weeks!
Only then do we temper the chocolate (heating and cooling it to form exactly the right crystal structure) and mould it into beautiful 50 gram bars. We then package them in our special resealable pouches and they're finally ready for tasting!