If we were to ask you what the artisan chocolate capital of the United States was, what would you guess? New York? Los Angeles? Well, since this is called The Utah Foodie, you would be correct in guessing that Utah is the craft chocolate hotspot of the country. The folks at Saveur seem to think so, and we’re very much inclined to agree.
Amour is the French word for love, and that's the perfect way to describe how the local jam company Amour Spreads began. It was in 2011 that John and Casee Francis were looking to start a new chapter in life. They felt they were in a rut with their careers and needed a change, or as they say in the episode… they wanted a sign: something that would signal to them what their next life chapter had in store for them.
It was when Casee and John were hiking in rural Idaho in the summer of 2011 that the sign they wished for appeared. Just not in the way they expected. A few miles from their cabin, they stumbled across a field with thousands of berries. Unable to stop themselves from picking them, they spent the morning filling bails with fresh-picked berries. But what do you do with thousands of berries when there's no way to bring them back to Utah? After some reading online, Casee and John decided to experiment with making jam. And that's where their new journey began.
Their first batches of jam were a hit. Friends and family loved their local, low sugar, high-quality recipes, and John and Casee's interest and excitement grew. Every new batch was an experiment, and what started as a hobby grew into a passion.
With further encouragement from their friends at Pago and Liberty Heights Fresh, John and Casee decided to take the plunge and grow Amour Spreads into a business. With a booth at the Farmer's Market, jam's at Liberty Heights Fresh and Caputos, and partnerships with Pago and Solstice Chocolate, Amour Spreads has quickly established themselves as an essential part of the Utah food scene.
Join us on The Utah Foodie as we sit down with John and Casee and learn how their humble jam interest grew into an award winning, state-wide hit. From the humble beginnings at an Idaho cabin to being a finalist in the Good Food Awards, the only way to go for Amour Spreads is up.
Scott was comfortable in his career as an air traffic controller and DeAnn was a sales manager at a local Utah business. But their kids were growing up and leaving the house, and behind the scenes Scott and DeAnn's homemade chocolate was becoming much more than a hit among friends and family, and was turning into an obsession.
So late in their careers and in mid-2013, DeAnn and Scott Querry made the leap into a new chapter of their lives and opened Solstice Chocolate out of a a small 800 square foot location in the Central Ninth district of Salt Lake City. In this small, single-room location they received small boxes of imported cocoa beans, arriving from distant countries known for their cocoa beans, like Madagascar and Bolivia.
Solstice Chocolate's "bean-to-bar" model has proven that carefully controlling the entire chocolate-making process pays off. Today, just two years later, Solstice Chocolate bars can be found in over 170 locations across the United States and Europe.
On today's episode of The Utah Foodie, we take you through Solstice Chocolate's founding story, talk about the bean-to-bar model and roasting process to make fine chocolate, and get to know their owners DeAnn Querry and Scott Querry.
You can find their chocolate online at Solstice Chocolate's website, or at the Blue Copper Coffee Room or Publik Coffee Roasters.