Meet Matt Weyandt and Elaine Read. Their boy-meets-girl story is a sweet one, with all the ingredients of a good romantic comedy. But their tale is true, and instead, is included in a forth- coming documentary film, “Setting the Bar: A Craft Chocolate Origin Story.”
Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate founders Weyandt and Read met in 2004 doing campaign work, then living on opposite sides of the country. Each had impressive curriculum vitaes before making chocolate ever crossed their minds. Travelers at heart, the family left their jobs behind just after their second child was born to pursue a dream of living in Costa Rica. During this time, they were introduced to not only delicious chocolate made simply from cacao and cane sugar, but also the farmers and makers. They returned to Atlanta with a new dream, and set up a micro-factory inside Krog Street Market in 2014.
The brand has blossomed since, with more than a dozen unique bars as well as drinking chocolate, cacao teas and much more. Their sweet story is just beginning. Schedule a tour or shop online.
Wild for Cacao
What does “bean to bar” mean, and where does cacao come from exactly? Learn these answers, and better yet, taste Xocolatl Chocolate for yourself during a tour of their micro-factory.
Xocolatl (pronounced “chock-oh- LAH-tul”) offers various tour times, which include tastings paired with wine. Visitors can also stop by Xocolatl inside Krog Street Market anytime during the micro-factory’s hours (Su-M 10 am-9 pm, Tu-Sa 10 am-10 pm) to shop their selection. Bars range from the best-selling “Kissed Mermaids” (60 percent dark chocolate, coconut milk, vanilla-infused sea salt and cacao nibs) to the aptly named “Love & Happiness” (blood orange-infused olive oil and raspberries swirled in dark chocolate), and all kinds of creativity in between.
What are the founders’ favorite flavors? She says: Xocolatl’s Nicaragua 72-percent bar.
“The bar has such a unique, but very subtle, oral sweetness to it that shines underneath the bar’s chocolatey-ness.” He says: the Peru 70-percent bar, a bar that was 3 years in the making. “You get a lot of flavor difference just in the type of bean that you work with. To me, that’s really fascinating.”
Good Food Awards agrees, and recognized the Peru bar last month at the annual awards ceremony and marketplace in San Francisco, California. Part of the couple’s travels to Peru to source the beans were documented for the film.
How does their relationship impact working together, and vice versa? He says: “The advantage is that we really trust each other. I know that Elaine is brilliant, and we both have each others back. We’re working towards the same goal, and I think our trust level has gotten even better than before we started working together.”
She says: “I know if there is something going wrong, I can sleep because Matt will be working on it through the night and I think he would say the same if it were a problem I was working to solve.”
When not working, the chocolatiers like to spend time outside. While Atlanta may not have any tropical forests, he says they’ll go walking in Arabia Mountain or Sweetwater Creek. She adds, “I love comedy and so for me, a special adult date night includes a show at Dad’s Garage or the Laughing Skull Lounge, then dinner in one of the many incredible spots in our neighborhood, like Ticonderoga Club or BoccaLupo.”