Forget France. Skip Switzerland. A bold new confectioner is about to conquer the chocolate world from Provo, Utah
By David Proffitt
Photography by Chad Kirkland
When Phil Davis talks about chocolate, you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s some sort of mad scientist plotting world domination from a secure mountain lair. Mostly because that’s not far from the truth.
Coleman & Davis Artisan Chocolate — the new Provo, Utah-based company Davis launched along with partners Morgan and Char Coleman — has what could mildly be called ambitious plans. “We are making chocolate like it’s never been made before,” Davis says. “We want to get the full genetic flavor of the cacao.”
It is a bold claim that all three partners insist they can back up.
They began their quest for chocolate supremacy two years ago by crisscrossing South America in search of the rarest, purest cacao beans they could find. Now they source their beans directly from growers, including some in Peru who have never sold outside the country before.
And then there’s that secure mountain lair.
“After you secure the best cacao in the world, the question is, can you roast it perfectly?” Davis says. He answers his own question by pointing to the specially designed equipment that fills the facility on Provo’s historic University Avenue. The hulking stainless-steel machines would make Walter White proud. And each has a smaller version of itself sitting nearby. The minis are used to test each step in the chocolate-making process, from roasting the beans to cooling the bars.
The smaller machines also produce Coleman & Davis’ secret ingredient: data. Lots and lots of data. Making chocolate “is not a guessing game. It’s a science,” Davis says. “No other manufacturer in the world goes through all the prototyping we do.”
To spread the word about their new wares, Coleman & Davis is recruiting a national network of chefs at Michelin three-star restaurants and high-end chocolate retailers. They also organize regular chocolate tastings at Taste, their appropriately named tasting room and store next to the production facility in downtown Provo.