For want of a decent cup of hot chocolate when out with friends, Dan Bieser now finds himself in the organic-chocolate business.
His start-up company, Tabal (ta-BAHL), makes small-batch, stone-ground chocolate bars from cacao beans he imports from a half-dozen Latin American countries. It’s grown from a hobby to a business that sells its chocolate in six retail outlets, including Amaranth Bakery & Cafe and Outpost Natural Foods, as well as online.
“I guess it all started because I’m not a coffee drinker,” said Bieser, a longtime educator whose main occupation now is in curriculum and grants for Growing Power. Going out with friends for coffee, he’d make do with packets of instant hot chocolate.
It got him interested in chocolate, and he joined a friend at a chocolate-making class in Toronto in March 2012.
Inspired, he came home and began acquiring the proper tools, as well as cacao beans, cocoa butter and vanilla pods. Bieser began trying beans from different sources, refining recipes, making chocolate bars for friends.
A few months later, Bieser incorporated Tabal, and in January he began leasing space in the building housing Amaranth Bakery, 3329 W. Lisbon Ave., so he would have a licensed commercial kitchen to work from.
Head here for the full story, which includes photos by Rick Wood, and here for the sidebar that details Bieser’s chocolate-making process. For more, check out Tabal’s website (which is experiencing difficulties as I write) or find them on Facebook and Twitter.