Founders, Elaine & Matt, showing off their Good Food Award from 2019.
Xocolatl - Atlanta, GA
Citizen Supply exists to support the people that are behind the product. Investing endless amounts of time and energy daily into creating something meaningful for the world. We believe when small businesses unite, something really BIG happens.
Today, we get the opportunity to talk to Matt & Elaine, the husband and wife team behind Xocolatl. Keep reading to learn how the Atlanta couple started their brand after a hiatus in Costa Rica in 2013.
Q: What do you want to see more of in the world?
A: We want to see farmers' markets and artisan markets take over the way people shop. For people to meet the farmers and craftspeople who make their goods and to learn about their processes rather than getting whatever is easiest from the rack or shelf of big box stores. We believe that customers understand they are empowered to change the way commerce works and that they have real say in making a great change--it'll just take an organized and focused effort to get more and more markets in every town and city neighborhood so that customers can choose these personal markets over corporate stores.
Q: Tell us about the WHY behind your brand.
A: Matt and Elaine created Xocolatl (chock-oh-la-tul) after taking a 6-month hiatus in Costa Rica in 2013. Having quit their jobs in Atlanta and moving themselves and their toddler and newborn to the jungles of Costa Rica, the two had no idea they'd fall into chocolate--they just wanted to unplug and reassess their lives. Once there, they fell in love with the ultra-pure, all-natural dark chocolate being made by local artisans and the two knew they wanted to learn how to make this type of pure, artisanal dark chocolate and bring it to Atlanta. They apprenticed with local makers, then returned to Atlanta where they spent the next year honing their recipes and building a company from scratch that would be unlike any other chocolate company in the city. By sourcing their fine-flavor cacao beans directly from origin, Xocolatl is able to engage in fair, transparent, and mutually beneficial commerce with small scale family farmers who are growing their cacao sustainably in ways that benefit their communities and environment. Purchasing only fine-flavor cacao (not the bulk variety that "Industrial Chocolate" uses) and using only minimal and whole food ingredients to make each chocolate means that every chocolate bar, while a bit more costly than their convenience store chocolate competition, is of high quality and is wholesome and delicious.
Q: What does your team look like at Xocolatl?
A: We have a staff of 12 and source our raw materials directly from farmers and farmers cooperatives whenever possible and use local and/or independent businesses as our vendors whenever possible.
Q: What are your favorite foods?
A: Fresh fruits of any kind!
Q: Can you share with us how you make your favorite product, Moonlight Through the Pines Trail Mix?
A: Like with all of our chocolate, we start by sourcing our raw cacao beans directly from farmers and farmer cooperatives in the countries that grow cacao in South and Central America and East Africa, often visiting those farms in person. Once we have sourced our cacao and had it imported to Atlanta, we hand inspect the beans, pulling out any broken or inferior ones and once we have just the best cacao beans, we roast them just like a coffee roaster roasts coffee beans. After roasting our cacao to get the roast and flavor profiles we want, we then go through a week-long process of cracking, grinding, and tempering our chocolate until it's poured into bar form, ready for us to hand-wrap. Most of our chocolate turns into our own dark chocolate bars, but some get used in our trail mixes, our powdered drinking chocolates, our chocolate hazelnut spreads, and our seasonal treats. And some of it will also go to Atlanta-based coffee shops, ice cream parlors, bakeries, and restaurants to appear on their menus in any number of incredible items!
"A rising tide floats all boats"