Inspired by a 2005 trip to an organic cacao farm in Costa Rica, Hallot Parson returned to the US and began to study the chocolate making process and how it might be produced on a small scale. Since modern processes are often not suitable for small handcrafted production, Hallot self taught through reading and trial and error. During this time, we made small batches of bars and confections using Venezuelan chocolate. In 2007 Escazu moved from Beaufort, NC to Raleigh, NC and soon after with business and culinary partner Danielle Centeno, and investment partners Bob Henkens and Celia Bonaventura, they opened a retail shop, where the bars and confections are made… meanwhile, Hallot was working on his first Bean to Bar chocolate./p>
The EZCA Carenero, 81% was released on March of 2008, marking the beginning of the official chocolate making process. It wasn’t long after that he decided that one bar was not enough. More beans where needed, more equipment and more space, so that every single item that Escazu was making would be “Bean to Bar”. In June 2009 The entire line of Escazu Bars and all of the confections where made entirely from the bean, putting us into the very small but growing community of bean to bar artisan and handcrafted chocolate makers.
The Escazu team is led by Hallot Parson, the head chocolate maker, and Danielle Centeno the head Chocolatier. Hallot is a native North Carolinian who comes from a background as a Chef in Aspen, NY and Dallas. Danielle, the chocolatier in charge of confections is a Venezuelan Native and is instrumental in helping us obtain the best beans from that country. She has culinary degrees from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, as well as the culinary program at Wake Tech. She has experience in pastry kitchens, as well as a Chef.
The rest of the team includes Kathryn Overton, a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York is in charge of the production of our chocolate bars, with the help Valerie Niemeyer. Sarah Mills is the Assistant chocolatier along with Matt Moore who also helps Alice Turner and Sherri Allen, keep the retail shop running. Bart Tomlin and Helen Flowers are in charge of processing and roasting the cocoa beans, and Bart is also one of the chocolate makers.