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Fortunato Nut Butter and Chocolate Coming

Fortunato Nut Butter and Chocolate Coming

Hello and good day!

Our search for a warm weather product that we can ship continues.

 We’ve had several ideas over the last couple of years. The most recent idea that I was very enthused about was cake batter. Prior to that, I was gung-ho over a fudgesicle mix.

 The idea behind both is that it wouldn’t really matter if the chocolate melted in transit, because you are going to have to liquify the chocolate anyhow.In the case of the fudgesicle mix, a customer would have melted the chocolate into water or another liquid and then poured it into molds to freeze. We probably would have provided the molds as well.

 For the cake batter, customers would have had to melt the chocolate and combine it with dry ingredients, which would have been included in the product, and wet ingredients, which you’d have in your house.

 Our chocolatier Javier has deep baking experience, and he makes a mean dark chocolate truffle cake.

 My hope was that we could include video tutorials showing customers how to make ganache at home and that we could sell truffle cake kits. You’d get all the ingredients and detailed instructions and video tutorials, and you’d be able to make the world’s best chocolate cake at home. And it wouldn’t have been just some garden variety chocolate cake. It would have been something outrageously elegant and delicious.

 Unfortunately, the concept was too hard for us to pull off in our small manufacturing facility. One of the hardest things in life is to admit when you are wrong and walk away. It is especially hard because some things shouldn’t be walked away from no matter how hard they are.

 How do you know what to walk away from and what to persist in?

In this case, both the fudgsicle mix and the cake mix died based on our understanding of customer experience. We don’t have a press to make cocoa powder. A cacao press is usually a big machine that is used to squeeze cocoa butter out of a cacao bean.

A cacao bean is roughly half vegetable fat. Think olive oil or coconut oil. You can squeeze the fat out of a cacao bean, separating the bean into its component parts. After pressing, you have cocoa butter and cocoa mass.

 Cocoa butter is used in all kinds of cosmetics, lotion, shampoo, and is also the main ingredient in white chocolate. Cocoa mass is the main ingredient in cocoa powder, which is the chocolate element in most baking recipes, and is also what most hot cocoa is made from. The benefits of cocoa powder are that it has a longer shelf life, because there is no fat in it, and it doesn’t ever melt in transit.

 The downside is that with cocoa butter squeezed out, cocoa powder is much, much less flavorful and therefore you normally need to add other sources of fat to regain flavor and moisture.

 Of course, the flavor you are adding back isn’t natural to the cacao seed an therefor you are deforming the true chocolate flavor of your recipe.

 Our desire has always been to come up with products that use whole chocolate instead of cocoa powder. We don’t have a press to make cocoa powder, so part of the goal is driven by pure practicality.

 But there is a philosophical underpinning to it as well. The product simply won’t be as delicious if it isn’t made with whole chocolate. Unfortunately, we can’t get around the fact that customers are going to get a bag or container filled with melted goo.

 The melted goo will have to be scraped from a bag or jar into a mixing bowl. Some chocolate will inevitably be lost in the process. And the whole thing feels very inelegant to us and like it will almost inherently be a bad experience.

 The more we pondered, the more it became clear that if a customer is willing to receive melted chocolate to make a truffle cake, you can just order chocolate from us in the regular way.   You don’t need us to send you all the dry ingredients. We’ll just put the videos and recipe online and you can buy a bar of chocolate and make it. If it melts in transit, it isn’t a big deal because you need to melt it anyways.

The world doesn’t need us to put a bunch of dry ingredients in small bags, and then the small bags inside a box, and then chocolate inside a bag in the box, and then we ship the box to you. You probably already have most of the dry ingredients in your house anyways and if you don’t, it would likely be cheaper for you to buy the dry ingredients from the grocery store.

 We’re not adding any value. So those product ideas are now dead.

 But we’ve been playing with another idea and this one has legs. We’re working on nut butters. One of our ingredient suppliers has very good prices on organic peanut butter and organic almond butter if we buy in large quantities.

 Our current thinking is that we can do six nut butter products. There would be three peanut butter products, one for each of our chocolates, our 36% and 47% milk chocolates, and our 68% dark chocolate.

 Likewise with the almond butter. I’ve tasted the prototypes and they are delicious.

The dark chocolate nut butters are very solid for folks looking for a low sugar source of protein, and they are vegan. The sugar in the 68% dark chocolate ends up diluted by the nut content, but you still get the delicious flavor of the Fortunato dark chocolate.

 The milk chocolate nut butters are more delicious than Nutella, have cleaner ingredients, and will benefit cacao farmers because the cacao is sourced in a much better way. We still have a bit more thinking to do, but if these product ideas clear a few more hurdles, they will go into production.

 If the chocolate melts in transit, it really doesn’t matter because buying nut butters in a liquid state is normal when the product is made with simple ingredients. 

You can get the nut butter to firm up by storing it at room temperature or putting it in the fridge. If we can’t come up with any reasons why we shouldn’t proceed with these new products, we’ll have them ready in about a month.

 Manufacturing a product like this from scratch is no simple task. We’ll have to design packaging, decide on the proper receptacles, buy the receptacles, set up manufacturing lines, buy additional equipment, refine the recipe, train the team, buy and store a ton of nut butter, and on and on.

But if the product is good enough, we’ll happily do whatever we have to do. I just ate a scoop of the dark chocolate almond butter prototype, and it is very, very good.

 Anyhow, I thank you so much for your time today.

 It is pretty cool to think about new products from the very beginning and then see them go through the whole process to becoming reality. Hopefully these make the cut!

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!