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Monday, October 27, 2014

Oakland Chocolate Company

Nancy Nadel is not hiding Umpa Lumpas like Willy Wonka, but her Oakland Chocolate Company factory in Emeryville is a wonderland all the same. Our group (SF Bay Area Chocolate Meetup) booked a tour online and got to enjoy both a tasting and tour of her mini-masterpiece factory. The tasting takes place in her front room, furnished with a lovely wooden table and chairs and decorated with photos of Jamaica where Nancy sources all the cacao beans and some other ingredients that she uses in her chocolates.

Ready to taste!
and take notes/order chocolate
Oakland Chocolate Company is a bean to bar company. Nancy orders her big bags of beans and after delivery, she tests them for consistency and purity using a fancy slicing tool.



After the beans are sorted, they have the husks winnowed from the beans in this custom machine. One reoccurring theme in small chocolate factories is the lack of small batch equipment! So if you're a fabricator, get out there and fill the niche.


There is a myriad of other little machines in the kitchen and Nancy explains them all! Since we had a few knowledgeable people in our group the discussion was quite informative and there were a lot of questions.




tools of the trade

staying to the city code!

tempering Jamaican chocolate
Our tour included take home chocolate. Our choice of two bon bons/truffles and two bars. We also got to peruse her table of wares—usually you'll only find her set up at the Montclair Farmer's Market or at the Oakland Art Murmur/First Friday. Nancy also has a list of retail stores that carry specific products (but not the Oakland Chocolate Company's full line).
J.K.'s pick—rosebud bonbon (l) and rum raisin barrel (r)
J.K. goes for the classic bars
Angela's pick—cocoa tea (l)  and caramel (r)
Angela's pick—Same bars front

and back—Jamacian almond and black salt bars

JK and I both got some goodies from the product table as well!
There is a lot of local chocolate making that goes on in the Bay Area! From Dandelion and Charles Chocolates in the City, it's just a hop skip and jump over the bridge to Emeryville to find the Oakland Chocolate Company!

Do you want to book a tour? Here is Nancy's blurb about booking a tour (taken from the website)
"Our tasting room at the Beach Street location is ready for Small Group Tours and Tasting. Please call 510 545-2462 to make a reservation.  We suggest a month in advance of the desired date. The tasting room seats 12 comfortably. The Tasting and Tour Program includes tasting our Jamaican chocolates of different cacao concentrations and compare to another origin sample. Guests also receive 2 1-oz. bars of their choice and 2 truffles or bonbons. The tour of the facility includes a demonstration of fermented bean testing, a talk about how chocolate grows and how the export system works in Jamaica."

sorry this photo is so blurry!