Arkansas October 29, 2017
The Chocolate Factory Tour In Arkansas That’s Everything You’ve Dreamed Of And More
Arkansas may be short on Oompa Loompas but we do have a golden ticket to the best chocolate tour in the state. Markham & Fitz stay true to their mantra of “bean to bar” and invite you to see the process. Get ready to indulge in their rich confectioneries as we take a photo tour of Arkansas’ irresistible chocolate factory.
If you live in the NWA area, then you may have spotted these bars while out shopping.
You can find them at places like Onyx Coffee Lab, Whole Foods, or the local farmers' market.
The bars are forged at Markham & Fitz’s chocolate factory, which can be found at 4170 M.L.K. Jr. Blvd. in Fayetteville.
They recently changed their name from Hello Cocoa, but not to worry, they have an even more scrumptious flavor.
Sure you could just go in and stock up on truffles at their storefront…
Which hey, everyone needs their fix.
…or you could take the time for a tour of their chocolate factory.
Learn about their "bean to bar" motto as well as the chocolate making process.
Your first lesson will be all about the beans.
Their cocoa beans have come from Haiti, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. The cacao distributors they use value ethical practices and sustainable. They recently changed to the Haiti cacao farm because the beans are organic.
Then you’ll learn how the beans become the more familiar looking cocoa powder.
Part of that magical transformation is from the winnowing process. This is where the husk of the cacao bean pod is stripped away. Markham & Fitz roasts their beans first which makes the separating process easier because it dissolves the husk’s fat.
After winnowing, the beans are now cocoa nibs.
The nibs are then crushed by granite stones to create a liquid called cocoa liquor. Cocoa liquor is half cocoa butter and half cocoa powder. Don’t get too excited, the "liquor" is just referring to its liquid state.
Now that the cacao looks more like actual chocolate, the tempering can take place.
Tempering is the process of raising chocolate’s temperature to the perfect consistency, then lowering and holding that temperature for molds. The lowering hold temperature will determine if the chocolate is milk or dark.
Onto the molds!
The chocolate can go straight to the molds or go through one more process, conching. Conching is how flavors get added through more heating and mixing. Markham & Fitz play with flavors like lavender, mocha, and almond.
That was just a taste of the basic process. It’s much more fulfilling (and tasty) to tour the factory in person.
Markham & Fitz hosts different events throughout the year to focus on specific chocolate education. You can learn about chocolate and wine parings or how to make truffles.
Oh! And did we mention they’re opening up a chocolate dessert bar and café this year?
It’ll be at 8th Street Market in Bentonville this December. Pamper yourself with their bars, truffles, sipping chocolate, and more.
To learn more about a chocolate tour, Markham & Fitz can be reached at 479-235-6236.
If you love seeing how things are made, then you could also take a tour of
Arkansas’ only cider mill.