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Behind the Bar: 70% Peru, Strawberry, and Champagne

Strawberries and Champagne Bar
Honeymoon Chocolates is releasing a special edition bar for Valentine’s Day 2021. Read more to find out what goes into choosing and making a new recipe for co-founders Haley and Cameron Loyet.

The first step for any new chocolate bar flavor is brainstorming. Haley thought about what Valentine’s day meant for her and the people on her Honeymoon Chocolates team. Haley initially asked the question what makes Valentine’s day so romantic, and roses came to her mind. She then connected the flavor dots and decided pairing pistachios with the roses would work well. They initially had three separate flavor ideas: rose and pistachio, strawberries and champagne, and red velvet.

 

a photo of the champagne bottles, champagne reduction and the strawberries that will go into the Valentine's Day bars


Troubleshooting
HM chocolates has wanted to make a red velvet bar for quite some time. They tried making a red velvet bar but hit a few roadblocks. The natural ingredients needed to use to make a natural rich red color like beets, strawberries, or raspberries were very overpowering flavors. None of those natural food colorings tasted anything near a red velvet flavor. While testing things out they tried making an oat milk chocolate bar with beet powder. The bar ended up being the perfect shade of red but Haley described the end taste like a chocolate covered raisin. She said it tasted amazing, just nothing like red velvet. They ended up scrapping the red velvet idea. They landed on the strawberries and champagne idea for this year’s Valentine’s day bar.

Photo of Haley Loyet creating a champagne reduction for the strawberries and champagne bar


Making the Valentine’s Day bar
Haley describes their current Peruvian chocolate as having a chocolate covered strawberry flavor. Haley and Cam realized that since their Peruvian bar already has strawberry notes to it, they did not need to add ground up strawberries to the bar for taste. However, aesthetically, they wanted to add strawberries to the back of the bar to add to the romance. The finished product is truly romantic.


After tackling the strawberry flavor it was time to work on the champagne flavor. There were two ways they could add in the champagne. The first one would be to infuse the cacao nibs. This infusion occurs through soaking the nibs in champagne for weeks or months until they reach the desired taste. HM chocolates did not have the time to soak nibs for weeks so they decided on adding a champagne reduction to the chocolate for the perfect champagne flavor. To choose the type of champagne that would be used Haley brought her HM chocolates team together for a taste test. Haley and Cam purchased a few kinds of champagnes all in different price ranges. They then poured out little cups of each type of champagne and broke up pieces of their 70% Peruvian chocolate bar for their team to decide which champagne paired the best. Out of all the options, they decided the most expensive champagne was the perfect addition to their bar. 


 

A closeup photo of the champagne reduction


Packaging
Packaging is something that HM chocolates puts a lot of thought into. All of their packaging is eco-friendly. Haley said because it’s Valentine’s day there was no other option, the packaging needed to be pink. She decided on a rose gold shade without the metallic sheen. The final touch to this bar will be gold champagne bubbles hand stamped onto each wrapper.

 

Photo of the packaging for the strawberries and champagne bar along with the bar itself with dried strawberries on the back of the bar