NET Productions| Nebraska The Chocolate Life

October 19, 2019 | Articles, Blog | No Comments

NET Productions| Nebraska The Chocolate Life


(mellow orchestral music) CHRISTOPHER: Chocolate
is fascinating, fun. Chocolate is romantic. SUSIE: Chocolate
is a warm hug. KEVIN: Messy. (laughing) PAUL: Well said. DEB: Chocolate
is mouth watering, satisfying, extravagant,
lavish, beautiful. BERTHA: Super delicious.
(laughing) CHRISTOPHER: The journey
from the discovery of cacao to present day to a
chocolate bar is a long, fascinating piece of history. TODD: We’ve had lines
blow up on us to where you’re literally covered from
head to toe in chocolate. Always worse things
you can be covered in, we always say. MELISSA: A lot of people
are surprised to find out that everything on there
is completely edible. We also get a lot of people
that are surprised to find out that everything’s done by hand. SHINYA: Everybody said,
“Wow, this is different.” Somebody said that this is
life-changing chocolate. BERTHA: It’s hard to find
anything that you really feel like you have
accomplished something and making the
chocolates I feel like I’ve accomplished something. JASMIN: People don’t
realize what amazing things are coming out of this
part of the country and going all over
the United States. (mellow orchestral music) NARRATOR: When Nebraskans
think of chocolate today, Bakers Candies in Greenwood
often comes to mind. The plant started by
Kevin Baker in 1986 as a way to provide
for his family, is now a family run operation. KEVIN BAKER: There’s a
lot of things I wanna go in other than candy but I
had a family to support and I knew if we could do
this and do it right, we could get it going
pretty soon and we did. NARRATOR: Before
starting Bakers Candies Kevin built, designed and
maintained automated equipment in the aerospace industry. His start in candy
came when he was hired by Lincoln chocolate
company House of Bauer. KEVIN: I was hired to come
in and update equipment, try to automate it, get them
efficient and make some money. We got it going
good and so I think it started showing a profit so basically they sold
out to Price Candy out of Richmond, Missouri
which was later bought by a bunch of investors
and they bankrupted it. NARRATOR: Not to be deterred, Kevin took his ideas he’d been
developing for House of Bauer and built the first
Bakers candy building with help from family
and never looked back. KEVIN: I was not a candy man but I knew how to make candy. I mean I would, I didn’t know the recipes but
I knew what needed to be done that we could make
it efficiently. We hired a guy that knew
more about chocolate and he would work the recipes
and we would run tests and try things to see
how fast we could run it. Get the chocolate to set, is it compatible
with our equipment. NARRATOR: Today
Kevin’s sons Todd and Paul have integral rolls in the
company’s day-to-day operations. TODD BAKER: There are
photographs of Paul and I on our David Hasselhoff
Knight Rider Big Wheels rolling around the Bauer
and Blum plant in Lincoln and so the chocolate
industry is really all we’ve ever known. We’re pretty good at making
chocolate having spent our whole lives doing this. NARRATOR: The Bakers
estimate they produced between three and four
hundred thousand pounds of chocolate in 2017. That results in at least
30 million meltaways. TODD: By my math that amounts to about 12-15 meltaways
per Nebraskan. NARRATOR: According to Paul, milk chocolate red
is the fan favorite followed closely by
dark chocolate mint, but which one do the
Bakers like best? PAUL BAKER:
They all taste like work is
our famous saying around here. NARRATOR: Like Nebraska
farmers sell corn and soybeans the Bakers buy their chocolate
on the open commodity market. TODD: The cocoa beans come to
the United States on a ship, just like every chocolate
company gets their cocoa beans however, we have them
processed into these nice, convenient melting ingots. A pallet like this
of chocolate liquor actually is probably
about the equivalent of an entire semi trailer full
of dry roasted cocoa beans. Being far more dense
we’re able to get about 30 of these pallets onto a semi truck and we
can get a lot more cocoa here to Nebraska so that
we can re-distribute it. NARRATOR: After 10 pound
chocolate liquor blocks are melted, they are mixed with
cocoa butter and flavorings to begin the process of creating the famous Bakers Meltaway. TODD: From the beginning to
the end the entire process takes about 90 minutes. That includes the time it
took to literally pump it out onto the floor, form, shape,
coat, cool, twist wrap and send it into this catch
bucket like you see right here. NARRATOR: Let’s speed
that 90 minute process up a bit, shall we? (upbeat bubble gum music) (record scratching) Okay, now let’s try it slow. (smooth mellow music) Bakers chocolates are so good
people come from miles around. Some even pedal their way. An annual chocolate
bike ride by the Great Plains Bicycling
Club brings chocoholics 40 miles round trip to satisfy
their chocolate cravings. RANDY SMITH:
We do the Bob Brown Memorial
Easter Bunny Chocolate Ride. This is a memorial for Bob,
who along with his wife Ann were long-time
members of the club. Bob was a real chocolate
lover so about weekly during the summer they would
ride out from their home, up here to highway six
and up to Greenwood to Bakers Chocolates
where Bob would replenish the supplies and
they would ride back. Bob passed away suddenly
a few years back and I decided we needed
to continue the ride so I’ve led that ride
for the last few years. NARRATOR: To accommodate
chocolate lovers from across Nebraska,
Bakers is expanding. A 5000 square foot
retail store addition is slated to open in 2019. A testament to their efficiency. TODD: A chocolate factory
our size in the year 1980 would have had have employed
at least a hundred people to do what we’re now able to
do on our production floor with just three employees. Literally machinery does 100%
of the labor intensive work out here on the candy factory
floor and so when people come to the chocolate factory
looking for oompa loompas they’re often
disappointed to find they’ve all been outsourced by automated
production equipment. NARRATOR: In fact,
automation may have lead to the demise of Lincoln’s
second largest employer of the 1950’s and ’60’s. Let’s take a look at the
Haymarket when cranking out hand-dipped confections
was a top priority. ED ZIMMER: We’re at 8th and P in
Haymarket in Lincoln, Nebraska and I think of this as the
center of chocolate in Lincoln and maybe the center of
chocolate in all of Nebraska because behind me is
the candy factory. What originally was the Gillen
and Boney candy company. They were a Lincoln firm that
went all the way back to 1895 and in fact, they went back
to 1895 in this building, although it didn’t look
like this at that time. NARRATOR: Ed Zimmer is
Lincoln’s leading historian. He takes us through what today
is a revitalized urban area and what once was
Lincoln’s chocolate mecca. Frank Gillen and
William Boney worked for competing candy companies. Gillen for Lash Brothers, Boney for Lincoln
Confectionary Company. After about a year as
competitors they joined forces. ED: Almost immediately
after Gillen and Boney formed their own company, their
building burned down in 1895 and somehow they didn’t
go out of business, they in fact bought the
two-thirds of the site that had burned down and rebuilt
their three stories in 1906 then added fourth story on top
of that and eventually bought and remodeled the
whole exterior. So, that whole
corner of 8th and P was the Gillen and
Boney building. NARRATOR: The foundation
laid by Gillen and Boney turned into Russell Stover, Lincoln’s leading chocolate
company in history. ED: Stover’s first came to
Lincoln not as manufacturers but as retailers. They weren’t called
Russell Stover, they were called Mrs.
Stover’s Bungalow Candies and they were in several
locations around 13th and O, eventually operating out of the Miller and Paine
department store building. During World War II, in order
not to be put out of business by the rationing, they bought
regional candy companies and Gillen and Boney was
one of them they bought. (upbeat jazz music) NARRATOR: By 1943 when Russell
Stover took over operations of Gillen’s Candies,
they have 43 locations around the region. Not long after that,
in the spring of 1946, an 18 year old named
Margaret began working there. MARGARET LEHL: I think I weighed
114 pounds when I started there and boy it didn’t take
long to pick-up to at least 118 or so (chuckling) and I’ve been heavy ever since. If I took that first
piece in the morning, I ate it all day long. But if I never ate a
piece then I was okay. NARRATOR: Not long after
she started working there Margaret met a teenage
candy maker named Leonard. In October of 1947, when
she was 19 and he was 20, they got married. Both Margaret and Leonard made
a career out of Russell Stover working there until 1980 when
offices and major production moved to Kansas City. But before that
happened, Russell Stover was the major player in Lincoln. ED: The payroll
eventually reached 800
and they were producing a million pounds
of candy a month out of the Haymarket district. MARGARET: I started
out as a service girl for the nut cluster dippers
and I did that for a while and then I learned to dip
the clusters too, myself. And then from there I
learned to do the designs by hand dipping and I did
chocolate and pastel both. NARRATOR: As a perfectionist
Margaret had a hard time meeting the 120-150 tray quota
during her eight hour shifts. With 82 pieces of
candy on a tray, workers would have each
dipped over 10 thousand pieces of candy each shift. MARGARET:
If you was going to make
for vanilla cream that was a V and you used three
fingers and made the V. And chocolate butter
was rough top so you, it was kind of a rough top. And then for caramels
it was a cup. ED: I still run into people
around Lincoln who worked at, what they almost always
called Stover’s and they have fond memories of coming
home smelling of chocolate. MARGARET: Didn’t pay a lot but I
stayed because I liked to dip and I liked the people and so I, I just enjoyed working there. NARRATOR: The
Lehl’s started their family
while working at Stover’s. The kids remember their parents
coming home with chocolate for them on a regular basis. MARGARET: It was like a
three pound box. We only paid a dollar
for the seconds. NARRATOR: Today inside
the candy factory atrium a tree grows from one of
the vats that was used to melt the chocolate
all those years ago. And train tracks still
disappear into the building. ED: As Russell Stover
expanded in Lincoln they went beyond the
Gillen and Boney building into about half a dozen
buildings around them including the big HP Lau
grocery warehouse north of them. From the north the spur line
came right into the HP Lau building and all the
way down into the old Gillen and Boney building so
they could deliveries by rail right inside the building. NARRATOR: Former
Russell Stover employees still get together twice a
year for coffee and breakfast. MARGARET: We talk some about it
and how things changed, some of the people that are
gone that we really miss and everything. It’s just fun to get together. NARRATOR: Today in Texas,
Frank Gillen’s great grandson still makes chocolate under
the Gillen candy brand. In Lincoln in 2013
with the construction of the Pinnacle Bank
Arena came a piece of art by Philadelphia
artist Donald Lypsky called Box of Chocolates. It is 16 feet wide by nine
feet high and contains 144 chocolate pieces. The artwork pay homage to the
area’s rich chocolate history. TODD: I’m Todd Baker with Bakers
Candies and shipping chocolate especially in Nebraska,
particularly in the summer can be quite difficult. If you’re going to ship
chocolate from home, here’s what you need to do. First, start with any
standard corrugated box. If you can, put insulation
first at the bottom, followed by the candy,
our local sports page. We use eutectic gel
packs like these. You can no longer ship dry ice
via most commercial channels and so you eutectic
gel ice is great for two to three-day shipping. Place it on top
of your newspaper, then from there we’re
going to add one more layer of insulation to the top of the
box and then here’s the key, when we close the box we
wanna tape it not simply along its vertical seam but also along each of the
horizontal seams as well. What we’re hoping to do is
make this package air tight. By doing this, your chocolate
will last about 40% longer and it’s the key
that everybody misses when they ship
chocolate from home. NARRATOR: Lincoln’s
Haymarket will forever be connected to the
city’s chocolate past. Today it’s still an area
where chocolate lovers can find something satisfying. ED ZIMMER: At their peak Russell
Stover was using about half a dozen buildings
in Haymarket, both on the candy factory block
and even across the street here at what’s now The Mill. This was one of the key
buildings in the revitalization of the area. I hear they even sell
chocolate inside here now. NARRATOR: Some of the
chocolate sold inside the mill is made by Shinya Takahashi, a nutrition and health
science professor by day and chocolate maker by night. His chocolate is
known as Nama Choco. SHINYA TAKAHASHI: I don’t
advertise my side business, chocolate business
to my students or
anybody else on campus because on one hand I’m
advocating or teaching students a healthy lifestyle but
then I make chocolate to sell to people. Once in a while when I go to
The Mill coffee shop in town, there are students
there studying for exams and I see them, “Oh,
you’re the professor.” Oh yes, (chuckles) and
it’s a little bit awkward situation sometimes. (speaking in Japanese language) NARRATOR: Shinya moved
from Japan to Nebraska to study exercise
science after watching the Nebraska football
team play Kansas State in Tokyo in 1992. SHINYA: What I saw on TV,
Nebraska playing against K-State and they were really strong. Tommie Frazier was a freshman
and he was a quarterback and they beat K-State so I
was pretty impressed by that and I decided to
come to Nebraska. NARRATOR: Shinya began
making his Japanese chocolates as a way to bring a taste of
home to his family and friends in Nebraska. SHINYA: The chocolate that I
make is really popular in Japan, especially the
Valentine’s Day time. Maybe January through
March but I haven’t seen anything like that in US and so I started to
kind of experiment and try to find
a close chocolate that I’m used to. NARRATOR: He turned it
into a business in 2014 after winning the
People’s Choice award at Lincoln’s Chocolate
Lover’s Fantasy event. That was the first time he
entered and he’s held the title every year since. SHINYA: When we went to
Chocolate Lover’s Fantasy
first time, we provided samples and
everybody said “Wow, “this is different.” Somebody said, “this is
life changing chocolate.” NARRATOR: His recipes
are simple in appearance and ingredients. Shinya prefers to let the
chocolates speak for themselves. SHINYA: I’m not making
chocolate from scratch, I’m using baking chips
basically, chocolate chips and then I put in some
ingredients and make the texture much, much soft and smooth and
I think that’s the difference when you compare to
other chocolates. NARRATOR: Nama Choco
comes in five flavors: dark chocolate, sea salt,
mint, sea salted caramel and raspberry. SHINYA:
My chocolate is temperature
sensitive so my chocolate needs to be always in the
refrigerator and it can last, I’m really comfortable
maybe at seven to 10 days but beyond that I won’t
be able to guarantee that that chocolate is good. All right. MOTHER-IN-LAW: Kanpai
SHINYA: Kanpai. NARRATOR: Shinya
makes Nama Choco in his mother-in-law’s basement
kitchen because that meets the proper certifications
for a food processor license. SHINYA: Nama meaning
“the fresh”, in Japanese and Choco is the chocolate. NARRATOR: Around the
same time Shinya Takahashi was coming to Nebraska because
of the football program, Kansas City native
Christopher Elbow was here as part of the University of
Nebraska Lincoln swim team. He is now a premier
chocolatier in his self titled chocolate empire
in Kansas City. CHRISTOPHER ELBOW:
Christopher Elbow Chocolates is a modern chocolate factory. We produce handmade bon
bons, truffles, confections with unique flavor combinations and also with a design element. We do a lot of hand
painting and air brushing so every chocolate that
we produce has its own, unique identity. NARRATOR: Christopher’s
road to success has been long and being a chocolatier
wasn’t part of his plan while attending the
University of Nebraska. CHRISTOPHER:
I was majoring in restaurant and food service
administration at UNL and a lot of the classes I
was in were very chemistry, food science centric
which actually gave me a really great foundation of when I did start
my culinary career. NARRATOR: Elbow
started out as a chef cooking savory food. CHRISTOPHER:
I had the opportunity
to work in a pastry kitchen out in Las Vegas and that’s
where I discovered my love for desserts and chocolate
and kind of all things sweet. NARRATOR: Even
though chocolate making wasn’t in the
plans when Christopher
was at the University, he says what he learned
there does translate. CHRISTOPHER:
Chocolate and pastry and
baking are very scientific and having that knowledge
that I learned at UNL really helped me gain insight
on how to correct problems and then come up with new
techniques and new ideas. NARRATOR: We visited
Elbow just three weeks after moving into his
new global headquarters in Kansas City. CHRISTOPHER:
We started in a 400 square
foot room above a restaurant. It was very small
scale, it was just me. Didn’t have any employees
other than my wife and my mom would come
down and help tie bows and things like that in the very early
parts of the business. But right from the beginning
we couldn’t keep up with demand. NARRATOR: The move to the
new building should allow for future expansion. CHRISTOPHER: All of our bon
bon and confection production will take place here and
it also houses all of our packaging operation, our
shipping and warehousing and then all of our
corporate offices. We were working under the
roofs of three buildings, separate buildings before
and just as we’ve grown we’ve kind of pieced
together what we could. But ultimately we
needed more space. NARRATOR: Confections
created here are works of art that go through many
steps before hitting the consumer’s mouth. CHRISTOPHER:
The bon bons is really what
we kind of became famous for. Kind of the core
part of our business. That process starts
out with airbrushing, the same airbrushes you
would use as a hobbyist and our paint so to speak,
is colored cocoa butter. We will paint the
molds with airbrushes or sometimes we’ll splatter
them or hand paint them. Once that is set we’ll pour
the chocolate into the mold and it will form the shell. Pour the excess out,
the rest will drip out and kind of leave
behind a thin shell. After that sets up that’s what
we’ll fill with our filling. NARRATOR: Fillings for
the Belgium style bon bons are made with well
thought out ingredients. Together they create
unique flavor combinations. CHRISTOPHER: We
like to a lot of really soft, infused caramels
using spices, herbs, different kinds of
fruits and flavors. Alcohols and things like
that that all go really, really well with chocolate. Once we make those and fill
them up, they’ll set for a day and then we’ll seal them up
the next day and turn them out. NARRATOR: The other
style of bon bon they create is called a French
style ganache. CHRISTOPHER: We would pour the
filling in a frame, we would cut it into
squares the next day and on the third day it would
go through an enrobing machine and get a really thin
coating of chocolate on it. Then we’ll actually decorate
those at that point, usually with what’s
called a transfer sheet which is cocoa butter
that’s been silk screened onto a sheet of acetate and
we put it on the chocolate when it’s wet, pull
it off after it’s set. It’s kind of like a temporary
tattoo so we can digitally create almost any design
for those types of bon bons. NARRATOR: Elbow and his
team are always looking for new flavor combinations
and those they come up with are intentional. CHRISTOPHER:
One thing that’s been
kind of a key to our success is we don’t do anything
weird for the sake of being weird or trendy. What I tell my staff is
if we eat it and we say huh, that’s interesting, then
it’s probably not something that we should sell. We like to keep things simple. The worst reaction a
customer could say would be that’s interesting. It’s the worst thing
you can say to a chef. NARRATOR: Even with room
for growth in the new space Christopher emphasizes
they aren’t looking to produce bigger batches of chocolate. CHRISTOPHER: We’re dedicated to
small batch production. We do want to grow and we do
want to make more chocolates but we’re at a certain
point where our batch size is perfect for
maintaining our quality. Our really primary focus
is to stay innovative and keep doing new
products and new flavors and kind of staying
at the forefront of the
chocolate world. NARRATOR: If Christopher
Elbow runs a chocolate empire in Kansas City, Susie
Robison is Tekamah’s queen and her shop Master’s
Hand is her castle. Nestled between
Sioux City and Omaha it started as a single mom
making candles with her kids. Now, it not only sells
candles but is a floral shop, boutique, lunchery, bakery
and of course, a candy shop. That part is known as
Serendipity Chocolates. SUSIE ROBISON: We are what we
call every woman’s dream shop but we’re also every
man’s dream shop when he’s in the doghouse. (laughing) We just wanted to
make a sanctuary, a place where women could go because unless you’re
intentional about life, it just passes you by. NARRATOR: When Susie decided to add Serendipity
Chocolates to the business, she looked to her
past for inspiration. SUSIE: That desire kind
of started with my mom and my aunt Esther and they
always made a lot of candies and things like that
at holiday times. Our chocolate covered
cherries and barks and toffees and things like that, that all came from
my mom and my aunt. NARRATOR: Susie says what
makes their chocolate so good is the ingredients used. SUSIE: We make everything
with real cream, real butter and real love
and not the fake love. You can get fake love anywhere, we make it real love and
that makes a difference. When people come in
we want them to leave with a sweet taste in their
mouth and so we give away a lot of just free samples. This little boy came
up and he was sampling all kinds of chocolate and so
the first one that he sampled, it was a peanut butter peanut and he apparently loved it a lot and he shouts over to his mom,
“Mom, you’ve gotta try this, “it’s a chance of a lifetime.” NARRATOR: Five years
ago Susie married Scott. A couple years after
that he lost his sight. Susie says it’s because of
all the adversity in her life that she is where she is today. SUSIE: The things that looked
horrible in the beginning they became part of the
rocky road of the story that we have to tell. In the early years
of Master’s Hand, when we just made
candles just to live, if somebody would’ve
just come behind me and just gave me 500 dollars, Master’s Hand would
never have been here. NARRATOR: Susie says there’s
something about chocolate that makes it perfect
for all occasions. SUSIE: I’ve never, out of all
the years that we’ve been here at Master’s Hand, I’ve
never had someone return a box of chocolate. It fits. You don’t have to worry
about getting the right size. Hi, I’m Susie and today we’re
gonna do a chocolate tip and I’m gonna teach
you how to make your own chocolate
bowls at home. You’re gonna take a balloon, you’re gonna dip it
in the chocolate, three times ’cause we’re
gonna try to make this look like a little tulip. And then I’m gonna
take it over here and I’m going to
put it on my tray. Now once it’s done
here I’m gonna take it and I’m gonna put it in the
cooler for about five minutes right in that area. Once it’s all cool I’m going to take them out of the cooler
and them I’m just gonna gently pop this balloon. Okay, now’s the fun part. You get to bring all
kinds of goodies here and we’re just
gonna fill them up. This right here is
a pudding mixture but you can use ice cream, you can use mousse. Oh, this is gonna be so good. Let’s put a few raspberries
in there because who couldn’t love raspberries. Yum. And then we’re gonna put
some whipped cream on top. There you go, something you
can do for your family at home. NARRATOR: Back in Kansas
City Christopher Elbow may be best known
for his bon bons but one of his most
recent endeavors is his Bean to Bar line of candy bars. To know where his cacao beans
come from and who grows them he travels extensively
to the growing regions and has done lots of
research on cacao in history. CHRISTOPHER ELBOW: The journey
from the discovery of cacao to present day to a
chocolate bar is a long, fascinating piece of history. I think 10,000 BP is when
chocolate was discovered in the Amazon basin and
typically it would’ve been used in the Mayan culture. They used to serve
it as a drink, a very bitter drink, a
very unfamiliar flavor. And then over time, the
cultures have learned that you can ferment the bean and dry it and
further refine it into what we associate chocolate
and the Europeans came over and landed in Central
and South America, say the natives
handling this bean, that’s a very precious currency
and something very valuable so they took it back
and it wasn’t until then that sugar started
being added to it and it becoming
something that we know of chocolate as today. NARRATOR: The cocoa
growing region is small and cacao is not a very
lucrative crop to farm. CHRISTOPHER:
Cacao grows typically
approximately 18 degrees north and south of the equator. It’s a very hot, tropical
and usually low altitude so it’s a little overlaps
with coffee a little bit but coffee would be
typically a higher altitude. NARRATOR: Cocoa
grows on trees and is difficult to grow
because the harvesting process cannot be mechanized and
some trees can grow up to 30 feet high. CHRISTOPHER: It’s a pod that
grows off the stems and trunks of trees
and inside that pod it would contain about
40 to 60 of the seeds or the beans that we call them and that’s covered with a
very citrusy sweet membrane that aids in the
fermentation process. It takes about
three to four years for a tree to bear fruit
and then another three to four years for it
to become fully matured to where it’s actually
producing a lot of fruit. NARRATOR: Christopher
gets beans from about 15 different countries
currently and he’s traveled all through Central
America into Columbia, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador
in South America. CHRISTOPHER: One of our goals is ultimately in an effort to
make cacao more sustainable, is to work with the farmers. Make sure they’re getting
a fair price for their crop and they have somebody
to sell it to. NARRATOR: Christopher
created a foundation where some proceeds
from the sales of his Bean to Bar products will support that effort. CHRISTOPHER:
The whole goal of visiting
the farmers is two fold. Number one to make sure
the product’s gonna be good and it’s gonna be something
that we’re gonna be able to make good chocolate out of. But also that their
conditions and the farmers are engaged in good practices. NARRATOR: Most cocoa
farmers don’t consume chocolate or know what it tastes like,
so Elbow gets satisfaction when he can provide
them their first taste of the end product. CHRISTOPHER:
We took a white chocolate
made with this group’s milk and their name is on the package and the kids were coming
up and just grabbing handfuls of this chocolate. To see them, you know, make the connection between
what we have created and what they have
provided us was a really kind of magical moment. NARRATOR: There are several
steps the bean goes through before it’s ready to
turn into the chocolate Nebraskans usually eat. After being hand harvested, the pods are broken open
and fermentation begins. CHRISTOPHER: The fermentation
process is really what starts creating the chocolate
flavors and precursors that we would associate
with chocolate. Once the fermentation happens
over about five to seven days, the beans are dried for
another five to seven days. NARRATOR: At this point
the beans are shipped to chocolate makers like
Elbow who further refine them. CHRISTOPHER: Our first step is
to sort through those and get rid of any
extraneous material. Sticks, rocks, things that
won’t make good chocolate but also broken beans, things
that got damaged in transit. The smallest amount
of negative beans would impact a
whole entire batch. (beans being placed
into roaster) The very first step in our
process and where we can start developing flavors
is the roasting process. It’s somewhat similar to
coffee where we’re roasting to a certain profile
for a certain bean. We’re doing it at a much
lower temperature though. NARRATOR: Roasting
typically takes about an hour and is carefully charted
to ensure the beans are cooked all the way
through and not burned. (beans poured into
cracking machine) CHRISTOPHER: The next step would
be to crack the beans and we would end up with
a big bucket of the shell and the cocoa bean so we put
them through what’s called a winnower and that
removes the shell so we’re left with
the very clean nib. That’s what will
formulate our recipe and go into the refiner. The point of the refiner
is to use heat and friction and pressure to basically
liquefy the bean. The bean is 50%,
roughly 55% fat cocoa in the form of cocoa butter
so we wanna break that down into a small particles
where it will liquefy and that allows us to actually
refine that chocolate down to a very smooth particle
size that’s gonna be really pleasing on the mouth. And we’ll also combine the
sugar in at that point as well. NARRATOR: Refining is
about a two day process. From there the liquid
goes into a conch for three or four more days. This is where final
flavor tweaks are made. CHRISTOPHER: With this machine
we have the ability to further push the flavor. We can take the
temperature up really high to where some of the
volatile acids will flash off. NARRATOR: Elbow found
that letting chocolate age before it is cast into a bar
further brings out the flavor. CHRISTOPHER:
Even after we make the
chocolate we typically put it into big blocks and we’ll store
it for two to three months before we cast it
into chocolate bars. NARRATOR: Christopher
hopes that by letting consumers see the process, they will have a heightened
awareness about how involved it is and not take each
chocolate bite for granted. Bean to Bar is a way to
get customers the freshest, purest end result as possible. That’s also the
foundation for Cup of Coa, a hot chocolate mix
originally produced in Salt Lake City but now owned and distributed in Nebraska. JASMIN McGINNIS:
I am an original Barista’s
Daily Grind barista. Barista’s started in 2001
here in Kearney, Nebraska. I am now the third
owner of this company and Cup of Coa was also a
Barista’s Daily Grind company that ownership has
passed on to me. NARRATOR: So how exactly
did the official sponsored cocoa for the 2002 winter
Olympic games in Salt Lake City end up in Nebraska? JASMIN: Coco Pub’s Cup of Coa
used to be originated in Utah and at the time our coffee
shop Barista’s Daily Grind was franchising all over
the state and we made-up 30% of Coco Pub’s sales. So when the original
owners of that company decided to move on
to something else, they asked us if we
would be interested in, in taking over the whole
company which we did back in 2007. NARRATOR: Jasmine fell
in love with Cup of Coa before becoming the owner. She hasn’t found any instant
hot chocolate she likes better so becoming the owner
was an easy decision. JASMIN: When you come across
something unique, something like this that
sticks in your memory, that sticks in your mouth, that even when you
haven’t had it for years you go back to, wow, that
was a good cup of cocoa, how can you not be
passionate about that. NARRATOR: To Jasmine,
the ingredients and recipe are what make Cup
of Coa stand out. JASMIN: Even though it is a
mix with water formula, there is tons of
milk in my product. We just found that
using a dry milk product produced a rich, creamy
cocoa so you can’t tell that my cocoa is
mixed with water. And then we also use three
different chocolates. One of them we
import from Germany, it’s a Dutch chocolate with
a really high fat content. What this means is when you
pour your water into my cocoa and you mix it, it
develops this really rich, creamy, frothy head. NARRATOR: Cup of Coa
is a luxury
hot chocolate made with all natural ingredients. Its unique characteristics
make it versatile, too. JASMIN:
We’re the only hot chocolate
company in the entire country that can be served hot. The same mixture can be
served blended or frozen. It can also be cooked
down into a syrup or sauce and our recipe’s unique
’cause you can do all of those things
with just water. Top it with a little
whipped cream. Good to go. NARRATOR: The cocoa
is produced in Nebraska and hand packed in Kearney
at Barista’s Daily Grind. JASMIN: We roll the tins by hand
and we’ll actually do that way in advance and
have them ready so that when the cocoa sleeves
show up we can just drop the cocoa sleeves
in, slap the lids on and ship from our
coffee shops out to all of the customers that
are ordering Cup of Coa. NARRATOR: Jasmine is happy that her specialty
hot chocolate allows Barista’s Daily Grind
to go beyond being just another coffee shop. JASMIN: Cup of Coa is a
signature product, it draws people. It’s so good that all of
those non-coffee drinkers will say, “Go to that
place because they have “the good hot chocolate.” GUY: Chocolate. MAN: Cheers.
GUY: Cheers. NARRATOR: Jasmine
enjoys being from Nebraska and she’s proud that her
small Nebraska company’s impact her home state. JASMIN:
I love our wide open skies and that life’s a
little slower here. I think that’s part of
the reason why we can appreciate fine things
because we take the time to notice them. People don’t realize what
amazing things are coming out of this part of the country and going all over
the United States. NARRATOR: Even
farther west in Sidney, 88 year old Bertha
Mueller ships her homemade chocolates
around the world. Mueller, known
mainly by the locals, is a former Cabela’s
employee who opens up her home twice a year at Christmas
and Valentine’s Day to her chocolate fans. CUSTOMER: Good morning. BERTHA: Welcome, come in. Glad you could come. BERTHA MUELLER:
The first years I made just
a little bit for my family and then I started
giving them as gifts and the people that we
gave them as gifts to very often said, “I wish
we could buy these.” and twelve years
ago at Christmas my husband died and he
died on December 2nd and it just was such a
blah holiday season for us and so my daughter Pam said, “Mom, do you think we should
try making and selling “some chocolates this year?” I said why not. PAM: Thank you, sir. CUSTOMER: Thank you very much. NARRATOR: The recipe
came from Bertha’s cousin who promised to share it
with her as long as she kept it in the family. BERTHA: The first of November
we start making the fondant and work really hard during
the whole month of November because it’s very
time consuming. We work long, long hours and
sometimes we really burn the midnight oil (chuckles) but it’s kinda fun because
Pam and I work together on it and so it gives us a
lot of together time. NARRATOR: Bertha
and Pam make at least 60 different flavors
which are offered in milk, dark or white chocolate
but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. BERTHA: I make 30 batches of
fondant and each batch makes 90 balls plus
I make all the fudges the sea salt
caramels have been a big seller the last few years. NARRATOR: Mrs.
Mueller went 12 years before a slight price
increase but it only covers cost of supplies. BERTHA: My son asked me, he said
“Well mom, do you make any money “doing that?” And I said, “Yes,
we make some money.” And he said, “Well do
you make minimum wage?” And I just laughed. I said, “If we paid
ourselves a dollar an hour “we would go way in the hole.” It’s not something you do
because you wanna make money, it’s something you do
because you love it. NARRATOR: Bertha
says at her age the feeling of
achievement is pay enough. BERTHA: It’s hard to find
anything that you really feel like you have
accomplished something and making the chocolates I feel like I’ve accomplished something and also it’s good
because people like them and it’s good to do
something that people want and that they want
bad enough come, to come out of their way to get. NARRATOR: Mueller
even mails chocolates for just the cost of postage
to fans around the country and the world. BERTHA: We have customers who
send us their Christmas list and we send like eight or 10
boxes to different locations around and the farthest I’ve
sent any is to Australia. Mostly it’s continental
United States and Alaska. NARRATOR: Only time
will tell how long Bertha will keep making and
selling her confections. BERTHA: I guess I’ll do it
as long as I enjoy it and when I stop enjoying it
then I won’t do it anymore. Lately, I said well maybe I’ll
retire when I’m 90 (chuckles) but that’s getting
pretty close now. CHRISTOPHER ELBOW: My name’s
Christopher Elbow from Christopher Elbow
Chocolates and today I am going to talk a little bit about how to store chocolate. Chocolate and cocoa butter
especially has a tendency to absorb odors so storing
chocolate right next to an onion in your kitchen
is probably not a good idea if you’re gonna use that
to bake a cake with. The best thing to do is
if you have any of these kind of air tight containers, these work really, really
well and get the air out. Then store these in
a cool, dark place. 60 degrees would be preferred. You can store them
in the refrigerator for longer term storage but we always recommend
making sure you bring it to room temperature before
you open up the package. Now, if you don’t have any of
these little containers here, you can always use
good old plastic wrap making sure you do a few
layers really, really tight. I would probably do two
to three layers before, especially if you’re gonna
put it in the refrigerator. Just like that. NARRATOR: Something
about chocolate brings people together. Bertha Mueller’s chocolates
attract family and friends for two special
chocolate holidays. Columbus author and speaker
Deb Burma noticed that too and that inspired her to
write a women’s bible study around the theme. DEB BURMA: And I pray this won’t
be the last time you hear it. May we never tire — We’ve been leading a
series of these events for a few years. When we started talking as a
team about what is one thing that most every woman shares a love for. Chocolate.
Yes, let’s talk chocolate. So, the exciting part
of me as I thought let’s do a chocolate
themed women’s event and see what happens. Hot chocolate, we have — NARRATOR: As Deb
started planning her event and looking through scripture, she had no problem finding
word pictures and themes that coincided with similar
chocolate connectors. DEB: What are all the
things we crave in life, seeking for something
that’s going to satisfy us and I’m taken to, I’m taken to God’s
word where He says that He satisfies every need of ours
through His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. I think about things
that are rich and lavish and how we savor chocolate
as it sits on our tongue and we long for more, right? So, what’s rich and lavish? God’s rich grace for us
that He lavished on us. Right there, in the
pages of scripture. I love the delicious
blend of chocolate and coffee. NARRATOR: Deb planned
her chocolate retreat and its success showed her
that chocolate did in fact, bring women together. DEB: We brought chocolate
in and we had, as I said, topped
out 60 to 100 women. Suddenly 220 women walked
through the door that morning and we saw that chocolate
brought women together. What is it about chocolate, I think it’s rich, it’s lavish, it’s delicious, let’s be real. And it’s beautiful. NARRATOR: Deb’s book
Living a Chocolate Life uses recipes and every day
experiences to help women relate to words in the bible. DEB: An extravagant, three
layer chocolate cake that I baked only to find a
catastrophe on my hands as it split in two
and cascaded down the sides of the cake
plate and onto the table. One big crumbling mess
and sometimes our lives feel like one big
crumbling mess. NARRATOR: Burma understands
that the Bible
and Bible studies can be intimidating
and she finds that the relatable topic
of chocolate breaks down some of those walls. DEB: With the concept
and even the title, Living a Chocolate Life, women were not afraid
to bring a friend, a neighbor, somebody who
had been maybe hesitant, unresponsive in the
past or just intimidated about Bible study to
see that it can be real, a real place, an authentic place of sharing and giggling and maybe some tears, growing together
around chocolate. Around such a fun,
relatable topic. NARRATOR: Deb loves seeing
people across the country share her Bible study and
recipes while enjoying
girl time in the name of chocolate. DEB: You can find chocolatiers
and chocolate shops all over this country and
beautifully right here in Nebraska. Chocolate is so appealing that who can’t talk about it? NARRATOR: As a Christian
author and speaker Deb Burma wears her
faith on her sleeve. Melissa Stephens of The
Cordial Cherry in Omaha shares a love for God
and credits Him for being where she is today. She just didn’t think it
would happen by making adorable little snowmen. MELISSA STEPHENS:
Over the years I’ve seen how
He’s been able to use that for His purpose and it’s
been a really neat lesson. Everything from all
of the fundraisers that we’ve been able
to be a part of. The thousands of chocolates
that we’ve donated to help contribute to
needy families and children and different organizations
that are important to just the gift giving
to touch somebody’s heart and make someone smile
that needed that. I no longer feel I’m not
doing something noble I actually feel like exactly
what God designed me to do. NARRATOR: And what
she was designed to do? Create chocolate
covered cherries that are not only delicious
but are almost too cute to eat. MELISSA: A lot of people are
surprised to find out that everything on there
is completely edible. We also get a lot of people
who are surprised to find out everything’s done by hand. We don’t use any molds to
create any of the pieces or designs for our
cordial cherries. Everything, start to
finish is done by hand. NARRATOR: Melissa learned
how to make cordial cherries from her grandmother and
that was just the beginning of what would become The
Cordial Cherry in Omaha. MELISSA: She’d always made them
for a Christmas treat for us so it had become a holiday
tradition for our family. Eventually I was curious
enough I wanted to learn how to make them myself. She was kind of reluctant
because it’s quite a process. Took about a week or so of
her kind of working with me but I was able to get it down. NARRATOR: Before any
decorating can take place the cherries must be turned
into cordial cherries. MELISSA: We order in all of our
cherries from the Washington, Oregon area. The next step is
draining the cherries. We have to prepare
a liquid fondant, it’s kind of a hot liquid
fondant so once it cools it’s hardened. Once we set them
down on the paper they cool down immediately
and are hardened. We have about an hour
or so before we have to dip them in chocolate
to create a, a casing so
that that liquification
can start to develop while they’re encased
in the chocolate. NARRATOR: Melissa
estimates she has come up with 200 plus cherry
designs over the years. MELISSA: My favorite
cordial cherry design is our snowman cordial cherries. It’s a really fun
one just because there’s so much versatility. They look so happy as
you’re making them. It’s hard to not make
them and not smile and it’s got a soft spot in
my heart ’cause it was one of my very first designs. NARRATOR; Melissa is an
interesting mix of artist and scientist. She has a bachelors
degree in biotechnology and a teaching degree
with a masters in biology. She was teaching and
getting her doctorate in education administration
when she started making chocolates to help
pay for her education. All of this while
raising four kids. MELISSA: I am left brain,
right brain definitely. I had a background in
pottery so that was kind of my foundation which I use a
lot of those same techniques actually in the sculpting and
such of some of the chocolates that we do but I’m also
very analytical so I love science and research
and problem solving which has benefited me
in terms of business. NARRATOR: Even
beyond the recipe family was the key motivation
to the Cordial Cherry’s roots. MELISSA: One of the primary
motivators for opening my shop was my desire to
home school my kids. I was a teacher and it was
really tugging at my heart that I was teaching everybody
else’s kids every day and I was missing out on
watching my kids learn. NARRATOR: And family
is still one of the keys to its success. MELISSA: I was literally
working around the clock. I recruited everybody who
I could possibly recruit so that meant my kids were
in there folding boxes, my dad was in there. I don’t even thing he’s
made a sandwich before and he learned to dip cherries. My sister was there and
her husband and we just had everybody who was
willing to help come in and sort of rescue me
that first holiday season. As soon as we got through
that season we realized okay, we are actually
onto something. There’s no way I can do
this by myself and so my mom and sister at
the time were willing to jump in as partners. NARRATOR: The chocolate
makers we visited do most of their business
between October and February. Melissa found that to be
true of her shop as well. MELISSA: Our most popular design
if we compared the entire year would still be our holiday
designs and among those it’s probably a toss up between
our nativity collection, which is a nine piece
collection that landed on Oprah’s list a few years ago, kind of put us on the map. That was exciting and
the just stereotypical Christmas designs so our santas, reindeer, elves and snowmen. NARRATOR: Besides the
acclaim of making Oprah’s list, Melissa’s chocolates have
been gifted at the Emmy awards a few times. They’ve been featured
in entrepreneur.com and they’ve appeared
on The Today Show. And although those
accolades are appreciated Stephens won’t
take all the credit. MELISSA: I just feel blessed. We have a business that we
do some really unique things and we’ve had some incredible
opportunities come our way and I don’t think
that’s by chance. NARRATOR: Melissa is a
woman with many passions who can’t sit still. She recently obtained
a patent pending on one of her inventions. MELISSA: I had this idea
to be able to stack pastries without them crushing
each other and to create really cool huge towers of
pastries and other food items. It’s called Haute Stacker. NARRATOR: Another one of
Melissa’s passions is mentoring especially up and coming
women entrepreneurs. One mentee is
Alexandra Ratigan. She is a chocolatier on
staff at The Cordial Cherry who has her own
brand of chocolates called The Chocolate Poet. MELISSA: I’ve just mentored
her along the way just to kind of help her get
her business up and running and so not only does she
manufacture her chocolates here but we sell her chocolates
in the shop as well. NARRATOR: Passionate about
chocolate, others, and life, Melissa is surely
living a chocolate life. One common denominator in all
of these stories is family. Chocolate making brings
families together. Chocolate eating brings
friends together like family. KEVIN BAKER: It’s tough to
work with family and we’ve done a very good job at it. I can see the grandkids, we got one granddaughter, she’d worked here tomorrow
if she quit school. I think the legacy
will have nothing to do with the business
itself but basically being able to run a business with all the family involved without fights, quarrels,
and we’ve done real well. We haven’t had too
many really bad spots. MARGARET LEHL:
Well, I met him in May, he was a candy maker and
we got married in October. We were married 36 years
before he passed away. MOTHER-IN-LAW: Kanpai.
SHINYA: Kanpai. SHINYA TAKAHASHI:
When we go to those
events she’s really good at promoting my chocolates. I think it’s a really
good partnership. CHRISTOPHER ELBOW: My wife’s
name is Jennifer Elbow and she is responsible
for creating the logo and the
branding of our company and has played a huge part
in helping us grow our brand and fine tune it over the years. DEB BURMA: The thing about
chocolate that is so successful at bringing people
together it is considered first of all, the number
one food craving in America and that especially by women. It’s so delicious,
it’s so enjoyed by all and it’s such a fun way
that we can gather together. SUSIE ROBISON: I just have a
team of just amazing gals and they love what they do
and they just bring joy here and they’re just really great. I’m functional in all
the areas but my girls are great at all the areas. MELISSA STEPHENS:
My mom’s my best friend, my sister’s amazing. I’m so grateful to both of them. My dad is a huge support. He’s there any time I need help just pitching in to make things or helping with my kids
’cause we’re so busy. BERTHA MUELLER:
It’s just a wonderful
mother/daughter experience and I couldn’t do
it without her. It’s a challenge for her
because she works long hours at her job and has
other responsibilities. I appreciate her so much. MELISSA STEPHENS:
Hi, my name is Melissa Stephens and I own The Cordial Cherry. Today I’m going to show you
how to make one of our favorite holiday designs, our
snowman cordial cherry. Everyone of our snowman heads
are made completely by hand. We come in and we just
create a little carrot nose with some orange colored
confectionary coating. One of my favorite
tools is a paperclip. We use this to actually
make our little eyes. To create the hat, I’m
actually using just a piping cone made out
of parchment paper. We just do a first layer,
just a little dollop. The second layer, same
idea but a little smaller and we finish that up
with a candy piece on top. And then to pull it all
together we actually trim one of our cordial
cherries, we take the stem off and we have to seal that top
so that they syrup inside doesn’t leak out. That serves a couple purposes. Not only to seal it
but it also provides somewhere for our
scarf as well as a point of contact to
glue the little head on. (mellow orchestral music) Captions by FINKE/NET (mellow orchestral music) Copyright 2019
NET Foundation for Television

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