My name is Mark Burrows and I've been making chocolate since mid 2019. It started out as a lark, with the constant thought that if I could make this a reality I could quit my primary and secondary professions and take on the one profession I felt I was made for. While that's a pretty grand statement, it feels very true. I've been in love with good high quality chocolate for a very long time.
I'm the guy who always had a bar, or five, of chocolate on me at all times. When I was visiting other cities I would seek out the quality chocolate shops over the bars.
But let's back up. Growing up I never really liked chocolate unless it was covering a Butterfinger or Reeses peanut butter cup. I still love those decadent treats to this day. But the Hershey's chocolate and even the Cadburys when I was introduced to that just didn't satisfy. Until one day many years ago I stumbled across a little company out of San Francisco called "Scharffen Berger".
That was a game changer. This stuff was amazing. That was my first launch into the world of craft chocolate. I spent every possible moment seeking out others like them I figured they couldn't be the only ones out there and while it still took a few years others were starting to come on line, Askinosie, Dandelion, Dick Taylor are all my heroes.
That's a long story to say that I finally decided that I needed to try to do this myself and see if I could make it work and the answer is a resounding yes. I would order beans by the single kilo from the Chocolate Alchemist and taste and watch every video ever made and read all the books I could find and discover all the new chocolate makers out there.
I joined Ecole Chocolate and did every course I could find. I joined the FCIA (Fine Chocolate Industry Association) and went to every webinar to learn from the others who paved the road for me. Then I went and made the jump from my home kitchen to a bona-fide commercial space where I could create without restriction.
The result? A dozen stores in my little but thriving area and expansion to some surrounding areas slowly but surely. I'm still at it by myself with a little help in the marketing field from a friend who allows me to pay in small amounts of cash and chocolate, she's been amazingly patient with me. Otherwise it's just me. I'm looking forward to the expansion that comes with success and all the stress that goes along with it. For updates beyond this little snippet of me check the blogs, I post at least monthly.
Another of my passions is to be as plastic-free and contribute as little as possible to the waste stream as possible. To that end I source compostable packaging only, use repurposed packing materials and am looking for warm weather packaging to ship in.
Lastly, giving back to others is a priority after meeting my expenses, I've recently been committing monthly contributions to the Heirloom cacao project, supporting small cacao farmers around the world. Also, by making sure I buy beans from importers that guarantee their farmers a living wage and to ensure their products are well cared for, including the farmers themselves by not employing slave labor or child labor.
And for God's sake Save the Earth! It's our only source of chocolate!