The Xocolate Bar is a Latina-owned family business founded in 2006 by life partners Malena Lopez-Maggi and Clive Brown. With backgrounds in arts and crafts, we make creative chocolates that are as beautiful as they are delicious.
As Berkeley foodies, we believe in clean ingredients and ethical sourcing. Our house blend of chocolate is organic and fair trade. We use all natural ingredients, including natural color cocoa butter and edible mineral dust for decoration. Plenty of vegan and gluten free options are always available.
In addition to our housemade chocolates, we carry irresistible confections made near and far. We are members of the Good Food Guild, supporting fine quality artisan food. In 2020, we took the initiative to decolonize our craft chocolate selection. We now showcase a growing selection of world renowned made-at-origin bars. If you find it at The Xocolate Bar, you can trust that it is well made, all natural and delicious.
Q: How do you pronounce "Xocolate"?
A: We pronounce it just like 'chocolate' but with a softer 'ch'...like 'shocolate.' The 'X' is a nod to chocolate's mesoamerican heritage. Its original name (in Nahuatl) was Xocolatl.
Q: Where do your beans come from?
A: Our new line of single origin bars are made of organic, fair trade cacao from Dominican Republic. The rest of our confections are made from blended couverture. We source our couverture from manufacturers in California and Italy who have been perfecting their craft for generations. They use organic, fair trade cacao beans grown mostly in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. They are committed to sustainability and have systems in place to control the origin of their beans. This ensures that no beans come from Ivory Coast - a country with a reputation for slave labor. We turn the couverture into confections in Berkeley, CA.
Q: What gives your bonbons that colorful sheen?
A: An FDA approved cake decorating powder called Luster Dust.
Q: How long do they last?
A: Shelf Life (stored at 68 degrees F, unrefrigerated)
Bonbons: 12 weeks
Filled bars: 16 weeks
Inclusion bars, Solid shapes & Sipping chocolate mix: 1 year
Q: Do you make your own molds?
A: Sometimes. Send us an email if you are interested in a custom design. Pricing starts at $500 for modelmaking and $20 per mold.
Q: How did you get into the chocolate business?
A: Malena and Clive (partners in life and crime) were looking for a new way to make a living that involved less toxic, abrasive materials than metalsmithing and glass fusing. They discovered artisan chocolates while vending at a fine craft fair in 2005. They became excited by the sculptural and sensual qualities of chocolate as a material. Being good cooks, handy makers and world travelers, Malena and Clive set out on a quest to develop beautiful chocolates with world class flavors and California sensibilities. They steeped themselves in chocolate research, devouring every book they could. They traveled to cacao groves in Bali and Dominican Republic to taste the food of the gods in the flesh. They tasted bonbons all over London, Paris and Santiago to learn the state of the art of molded confections. Malena learned the science and proper handling of chocolate at Richardson Researches, UC Davis Food Science Department.
The duo started The Xocolate Bar in 2006, working out of the Sausalito Yacht Club kitchen (before it was fancy!). Malena taught chocolate tasting classes in Marin and beyond. In 2007 The Xocolate Bar won Best in Show at the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon. They moved to Berkeley in 2008 and have made all their chocolates there ever since.
Q: Why do you carry other people's chocolates?
A: For the first 10 years of our operation we handmade everything on site and kept very limited hours. Then we expanded our hours to better serve our customers and found we had surpassed the production capacity of our tiny kitchen. Rather than have bare shelves, we decided to welcome in a selection of chocolate from other makers committed to excellent, responsibly made treats.
We found that the craft chocolate and artisan confection fields had exploded in the 10 years that we've been in business. In 2006 there were only a handful of bean to bar chocolate makers in the United States. Now there are over 200! We are proud to showcase and collaborate with other small batch producers both local and global. In order to pass muster, the chocolates we carry have to be all natural or organic, made with conflict-free cacao, packaged beautifully, and above all, delicious.