Creative Crush: Undone Chocolate
I've been meaning to post this for a while! Things have been busy with my new job and summer travel. Life.
This post is a Q+A with Adam Kavalier of Undone Chocolate. Adam and his wife Kristen create handcrafted small batch bean-to-bar chocolate right here in the District.
I discovered Undone last winter at a pop-up shop near Navy Yard. It was cold and this chocolate warmed me up! I all love their flavors (Nourish, Replenish, Arouse), but Arouse is my favorite. Undone chocolates make excellent locally-made gifts.
We make handcrafted small batch bean to bar chocolate from antioxidant rich organic cocoa beans sourced directly from small producers. - Adam Kavalier of Undone Chocolate
When did you first discover chocolate making and why did you decide to pursue it as a career?
I stumbled across cacao while pursuing a doctorate in plant biology. I was intrigued by the chemical makeup of cacao and the process by which it becomes chocolate. Over the next six years I developed my craft in a Manhattan studio apartment, building small machines or repurposing others to fit my small batch process (not many machines are made to produce at the small level that I began at). I continued to make small batch chocolate alongside my research and studied cocoa beans for their chemical makeup. I sought out beans that had a story and were particularly rich in antioxidants. I played with different ways of making chocolate, including a number of roasting and grinding profiles to make chocolate that was high in antioxidant levels while aiming to not sacrifice flavor. Over time I fell in love with the different flavors of cacao
How do you combine science and art to make delicious chocolate?
I began making chocolate from a very analytical angle. Measuring, timing, and calculating. I tried to make chocolate making fit into a box and over time realized that it doesn't fit into a confined space. I fell in love with the flavors of cacao and making chocolate became more intuitive than calculated. While I began very process oriented, as the chocolate making is very process oriented, I shifted to a more creative perspective allowing for parameters to change according the needs of the situation.
What do you do to overcome a creative block?
Switch tasks, sometimes meditation and yoga.
How do you define creativity?
Creativity is the ability to use feeling and intuition to drive your actions and decisions. It is inherently a product of one's unique perspective.
What's one thing you have to do everyday?
So many things! Manage operations, customer relations, sales, packaging, shipping, finance, accounting, most all of these happen every day.
What one piece of advice would you give to a chocolatier just starting out?
Double your financial budget and triple your projections on the amount of time you think things will take.
Any tips for working with a spouse on a creative business?
For us it has been magical, working on a creative business together has allowed us to explore unique parts of ourselves and each other and has expanded our relationship in a whole new way.
Find a market that sells Undone Chocolate nearest you (I go to Smucker Farms on 14th and W) or purchase some chocolate online now!
Special thanks to Adam for letting me do this Q+A! I learned a ton from this piece and am really excited to see Undone growing in the short time that I've known about them!