When I started exploring the possibilities of making small batches of chocolate, I thought I was onto something. I had not heard of the world of bean to bar or craft or artisan chocolate. I was soon to realize that there had been a bean to bar industry long before me and I soon learned to truly appreciate the craft that the pioneers before me created.
The bean to bar chocolate world at its root is created to make lives better- here at home, at the place of origin and for all the places in between. I had the opportunity to do an apprenticeship with Mackenzie Rivers from Map Chocolate and now the Next Batch School in the summer of 2018. I had been on a quest to search deeper into my soul and figure out what the next chapter of my life was going to mean. 5 years later I am still very much trying to figure that out but the two weeks I spent with Mackenzie in Eugene Oregon were 2 of the most transformative of my adult life.
During the weekdays we worked hard together. She graciously answered my zillions of questions, let me polish molds, start batches of chocolate and soak in all her secrets. She is generous beyond belief. She has a deep desire to lift everyone up around her. She shares information freely. She lives her life and creates her chocolate with grace and respect for others and for the craft, but she also shares her opinions freely to start conversations that pertain to all levels of the chocolate industry.
In the last few years she created the Next Batch School. Here makers from around the world can come to learn the basics of selecting beans, chocolate shop setup all the way up to the secrets are crafting complicated chocolate bars with multiple ingredients and different kinds of chocolate. She is not making many chocolate bars anymore but if you ever do find a Map Chocolate bar in a store or on her website, I cannot recommend highly enough that you snatch it quickly.
Mackenzie is not only my mentor, but she has become a very close friend of mine. She is always there to bounce questions off and when life in general is a struggle she has also just quietly listened to my complaining. I hope that you enjoy this episode. It goes a little longer than normal and we could have kept talking far longer than we did. Its not all chocolate. There are some life stories in there as well.
Grab your favorite bar of chocolate and enjoy this episode with Mackenzie Rivers of Map Chocolate and the Next Batch School.