Dancing Lion Chocolate
Chocolate philosophy: I source from small farms and artisan chocolate makers around the world. While Dancing Lion Chocolate is not a bean-to-bar company, I work collaboratively with some of the most innovative and interesting craft chocolate makers in the industry. Craft chocolate changes with each harvest, and my products reflect chocolate as a naturally evolving ingredient. I extend that philosophy to all of our ingredients: local, artisan, and as spectacular as I can get.
Inspiration: I first experienced real couverture chocolate about 20 years ago, and fell in love.
Training: I completed Ecole Chocolat’s Professional Chocolatier course in 2007, then their Master Classes in France and Tuscany. I’m now on the faculty of Ecole Chocolat, and teach several online tasting classes. Beginning this August, we’ll be offering the “Master Chocolatier Recipe Development Program” for Ecole Chocolat, a five-day course for chocolate professionals.
Business profile: Dancing Lion Chocolate is located in the historic commercial district of Manchester, New Hampshire, USA. There’s a lot of beautiful red brick nearby, from the old millyards, now renovated. Our building is tiny – 12 feet wide – but we’ve managed to fit our production kitchen, packaging area, and an intimate cafe with six tables. The shop has a very warm feel: one part Paris, one part Central America, and one part New England. We display our small, ever-changing selection of bonbons, bars, and chocolate art in a restored wooden jewelry case. There are orchids on the tables. People sit here, sipping chocolate from pottery bowls, for hours. Our chocolate bar boxes and bonbon gift boxes are hand-made in Nepal from Lokta papers, tied with raffia, stamped with our logo. Sunil, in Nepal, has taken great care to get them just right, and they’re beautiful.One of my long-time customers described the Dancing Lion Chocolate clientele as “people who are passionate about something, it doesn’t matter what.” Our customers are of all ages, all financial situations, all political affiliations, a huge variety of ethnicities and origins. They know that when they buy something from us, it will never disappoint them and will absolutely be worth the money.
How does your shop differ from others? Food is fundamental, it’s a way of experiencing life. You see something beautiful, put it in your mouth, have a flavor experience. The art becomes part of you and is gone. But it’s unpretentious; it’s something I made for you to eat, and it isn’t complete until you eat it. It can be as simple as chocolate bark with candied bell pepper and Uzbek black cumin, or it can be as spectacular as a Vermont landscape painted in cocoa butter on a chocolate bar. It’s food.
Motto: Dancing Lion Chocolate’s motto is “Chocolate As Art,” but my personal motto is really “Life As Art.” Art’s all around you everywhere, every day. Why not chocolate?