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Innovation & Job News

Two-ingredient craft chocolate maker moves into Union Kitchen

Kristen and Adam Kavalier, cofounders of Undone Chocolate

Undone Chocolate, a new craft chocolate maker in the District, moved into Union Kitchen in September and began selling its products to the craft chocolate loving public about two weeks ago. The company, whose main chocolate bars contain nothing but organic cacao and organic cane sugar, differentiates itself from other chocolate makers by being "pure and transparent about everything that we do," says Adam Kavalier, cofounder of the company.

Adam and his cofounder (and wife) Kristen Kavalier started making chocolate in their Manhattan studio walk-up five years ago. Grinding cacao beans for three days, which is an integral part of Undone Chocolate's process, "made the whole building smell great," Kavalier says, "but sleeping that close to a grinder that was running for three days?" Not so great. The move to Union Kitchen has allowed the pair to "be in a space dedicated to work and to start making chocolate full time."

Undone Chocolate sources its cacao from Central and South America as well as the Caribbean, and it buys its beans from importers who buy directly from farmers and fermenters in those areas (fermentation is a crucial part of the chocolate-making process). Kavalier acknowledges that buying beans this way definitely results in higher costs, which are then passed on to consumers; Undone Chocolate retails for $8 per bar. "We're supporting local agriculture," Kavalier says. "And we always get high-quality beans. It's worth every penny to pay over market price."

Undone Chocolate's sourcing is also sustainable, so the stories about chocolate shortages aren't a problem for this company. "There are shortages of chocolate because of the business model of large commercial chocolate makers," Kavalier says. "They see cocoa beans as a commodity. We are decommoditizing cocoa beans through direct trade."

The company's two-ingredient model is designed to preserve as many antioxidants in the cacao beans as possible—a mission he takes very seriously. Kavalier has a Ph. D in plant chemistry and completed post-doctoral work on cancer pharmacology; he regularly brings chocolate samples into the lab to test the antioxidant levels in them "to support the craft chocolate community and [expose] the health benefits of dark chocolate," he says.

District residents who want to sample Undone Chocolate's craft concoctions can pick up a bar at Yes! Organic Market in Petworth and on 14th St., Compass Coffee, Glen’s Garden Market and Nicecream Factory. Undone Chocolate will also be sampling and selling at the Monroe St. Market tomorrow and at the PARCEL Holiday Market in Navy Yard all weekend.

An earlier version of this article stated that Undone Chocolate purchases its beans directly from farmers; actually, Undone Chocolate purchases from importers that source beans directly from farmers. Elevation DC regrets the error.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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