A Long Time Ago in a Small Town Square (pretty close to home)

Ever have the feeling that Sand People are invading?

Sand People!?

Sand People!?

Sand People!

Sand People!

And then you realize that it's just because you have been working on a construction project for two years and all the construction dust in starting to make your eyes blur?

Maybe it's just us. At least chocolate is a good antidote to construction fever.

The top picture is actually one of the construction team finishing up some dry wall at the rear of the building. From around the corner, we couldn't help but see the Sand People coming!

Things are really coming along, but we are a little behind. Yes we are still moving. No, we don't know exactly when. Right now we expect September sometime, but that may shift a few weeks as we finish the final details. 

And what details they are~

Our New Event Space looking all sexylike. We need a good name. Maybe "Chocolate Observatory" or "Cocoa Bean Overlook". Ha.

Our New Event Space looking all sexylike. We need a good name. Maybe "Chocolate Observatory" or "Cocoa Bean Overlook". Ha.

Look at the subway tile! It's beautiful!

Look at the subway tile! It's beautiful!

The top two levels are looking great. The floors are in. The event space is basically done and about all that's left on the first level is to install the bar (okay, maybe we need, like, an outside door or something too). But look at the wood, brick and all the light!

And the elevator is done! (for the escape scene from the GOVERNMENT PERMITS OFFICE)

Quick, to the escape hatch! (pew pew) Come on compressor R2D2!

Quick, to the escape hatch! (pew pew) Come on compressor R2D2!

And, and, finally the speakeasy is taking shape!

Green.

Green.

As much as we like green, that's actually mildew resistant drywall. It's still waiting for all it's 20s style paint and dressings. Maybe a new 'do. We'll see.

Mary and Sara were working in the new chocolate kitchen (eep!). Not on chocolate quite yet.

Feels like this should be a companion to American Gothic

Feels like this should be a companion to American Gothic

Chocolate Maker and Guy With Pitchfork (for cocoa beans)

Chocolate Maker and Guy With Pitchfork (for cocoa beans)

But they were working on stain!

Trying to tease out the subtle differences

Trying to tease out the subtle differences

Things have accelerated a lot over the past few weeks. It's just a matter of a few inspections (for now) and then the final beautifying touches. Everyone is working hard and it's all coming together!

In the mean time, if you see us on the street or in the cafe staring at a computer and then we start talking about thermal exhaust ports for the reactor core, know we really mean that the AC needs to keep all the chocolate cool in the new kitchen. And we aren't seeing Wookiees all around us. Probably.

~Ethereal

Mary, Michael & Sara

Michael Ervin
Ethereal Chocolate & Construction & Electric & Plumbing Company

The thing that most surprised us when getting into chocolate was how *much* we had to become mechanics & financial analysts & chemists and all kinds of other things. We've imported equipment from Italy and Peru. We've done custom projects for really great coffee companies (*ahem* Death Wish). We've added all kinds of 3 phase power to our current building. And we've figured out the intricacies of all the things you can (and can't!) add to chocolate. 

Hint, you can't add very much honey or it will seize. Hint, soaking nibs in whiskey takes a long time.

Making what we feel is great chocolate, ethically sourced has drawn on all of our skills. Mary did packaging and graphic design. Sara majored in political science and then interior design. Michael majored in computer science and then got an MBA. It's required everything we have to get where we are today.

Enter....

Our imagined building!

Our imagined building!

We've had to add a few more things to our repertoire to get a building built / restored. But look where it is!

It's real!

It's real!

We're almost there. Just a few more weeks of construction and we'll be ready to move.

First, we had to make an absolute mess of things—

A mess

A mess

Then we had to layer in everything we needed for a chocolate business & cafe & speakeasy & event space & outdoor seating—

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Then it was time for a break.

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Mary and Sara said they had to have a "meeting".

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But really, we worked to have everything we needed while preserving & restoring the historical nature of the building. Those mason jars were full of mixtures to match our new wood with our old!

Chemistry! ?

Chemistry! ?

Speakeasy stone

Speakeasy stone

Upstairs advertisement

Upstairs advertisement

While giving a few views into our chocolate madness—

And getting ready to warm by the fire (some day when it's cold)—

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And adding a few touches of our own—

But we haven't forgotten about the most important things! New dishes—

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And beautiful wood on which to serve them—

Lonely garbage can won't be lonely much longer—

Not so lonely soon

Not so lonely soon

We'll see you at the end of July! We'll announce opening parties and sneak peaks soon!

- Mary, Michael & Sara

Michael Ervin
Chicken Sandwiches and Concrete Beignets

Through the depths of winter and some pretty gnarly ice and snow!

Neither Snow, Nor Sleet, Nor -30 Fahrenheit

Neither Snow, Nor Sleet, Nor -30 Fahrenheit

Our morning walks to the shop have been treacherous-

Land of snow and ice

Land of snow and ice

Slumbering greens waiting for Ethereal spring

Slumbering greens waiting for Ethereal spring

While the land’s been frozen and the concrete comes down we’ve been dreaming-

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No, not that! Of delicious breads-

New Ethereal secret recipe gluten free sandwich buns

New Ethereal secret recipe gluten free sandwich buns

And bites-

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And pickled things-

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And chicken sandwiches-

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All waiting to make their debut, as we test and tweak. Until then, there's lots of digging

All waiting to make their debut as we test and tweak. Until then, there’s lot’s of digging-

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And bricking-

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And sparking-

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We’re making new art for the walls-

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And plans for your feet-

Swing Dancing

We are going to have swing dance nights at our new event space! If you are interested, join this group for updates and more information!

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And a space in which to meet-

New Event Space

We are booking our new event space! Weddings, birthdays, just-becauses! Contact us today for more info!

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We’re ready for our frame-up!

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We’ll see you soon!

Sara, Mary & Michael

Kari Firak
Spring Truffles

Our Spring Truffles have taken over and each one has its own personality. Sweet Tea Julep is like a southern belle- sweet & sassy in one. And with Raspberry, Rose and Pistachio, the Queen of Hearts lives up to the name by being unforgiving(ly tasty). Well, you'll just have to order some so they can march themselves into your hearts...

Bunny Bark

Bunny bark! Our newest Easter treat. Made of our signature 66% dark chocolate combined with organic vegan gummy bunnies that are a delicious mix of strawberry, cherry and raspberry, and made with organic sweeteners and organic fruit juice.

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New! Cacao Juice

We are now carrying cacao juice from Repurposed Pod! Made from the sweet fruit in the pod, it doesn't taste like chocolate, but it's perfectly sweet and naturally refreshing! Come in and try some today, straight up or in our new cacao juice mimosa made with champagne, cacao juice, and elderflower liqueur!

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You're Turning Violet, Violet Mocha

A little while ago we asked everyone what their favorite thing to get in the cafe was. A few comments particularly caught our eye, like from Tim King, who suggested we create a drink inspired by our You're Turning Violet, Violet Truffle. We thought, yes!! Why didn't we think of that?? So, say hello to the You're Turning Violet, Violet Mocha. We love it and know you will too!

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Irish Cream Whiskey Coffee Chocolate Bar

Together with Death Wish, we created an Irish Cream Barrel Brand Whiskey Coffee Chocolate Bar. Our signature dark chocolate bars, made with Death Wish coffee, are topped with cocoa nibs soaked in whiskey and crushed Irish Cream coffee. Each bar is 64% cacao. 🍀 We have some in the shop, or you can order them online directly from Death Wish. Click here to read more about our collaboration!

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Ethereal Travels- Accra, Ghana

Michael is traveling through Ghana, searching for high quality, sustainable beans grown by great people! Read through below to see the start of his sourcing adventure!

We woke up to a beautiful view in Accra with a rising sun and the close heat that let us know it would be a warm day. This is the dry season but they said the rains are coming earlier every year now as the climate changes. It’s high 90 with a chance of rain every day.

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Accra is a quick moving capital full of ongoing construction and embassy areas.  But we weren’t staying for long! The day’s destination was Suhum, about an hour drive away from Accra, with our new friends a ABOCFA.

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We met with Stephen, the GM of ABOCFA, and the board elected from the set farmers to run the COOP.

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ABOCFA is made up of about 700 member farmers and was organized about 10 years ago around a principal of being the FIRST IN AFRICA organization to be certified both organic and fair-trade in cocoa.

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In addition, they regularly monitor to assure no slave and child labor is being used. There should be a distinction made about child labor—if it’s a family farm and the children work as part of their family chores, and not denied access to school in order to work, it’s fine. I grew up working on a farm. As long as the right clothing and equipment is used and the tasks are appropriate for the child’s size and abilities, there’s no problem.

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Frankly, this is one of the reasons that I was hesitant to buy cacao from West Africa—assuring labor conditions for children. Through working with ABOCFA, we can understand their philosophy and how they are working with farmers to promote only practices that are good for these communities and the earth.

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To start our inaugural meeting, we shared coconuts cut that morning, light sweet water and soft coconut flesh. Later, we had bananas that tasted like cloves and cardamom. 

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I brought some of our Ecuador bars, which the farmers enjoyed! They usually don’t like dark chocolate because they usually only have high sugar chocolate, when they were able to have it. As a former British colony, most people speak English, more or less, in addition to a variety of local languages (Twi is most common around Suhum). We still need an interpretation often, but everyone is very friendly and patient with us.

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After talking about price and quantities that would be possible to export (more on export details later!), we had to head to see the Chief of the hamlets included in ABOCFA in order to ask for permission to visit farms. I’ll cover that in the next update!