In 2012, we took our toddler & newborn to the jungles of Costa Rica for an unplugged life and a little adventure. We didn’t know if we’d be there 6 months, a year, or indefinitely but we knew we needed to return to this sleepy town we had backpacked through a decade earlier where the lush jungle unfurls straight into the sea. With a love of travel we wanted to imprint into our two young kids and on the same shoestring budget we lived off of as backpackers years ago, we rented a tiny house in the jungle and settled into our new community where we quickly befriended local chocolate makers who were making dark chocolate from cacao growing in those very jungles.
This chocolate was intensely flavorful, unadulterated and pure and we soon discovered that chocolate made from cacao grown on different farms even in the same region had noticeably different flavor profiles and none were like the dull sweetness of the candy bars we grew up calling chocolate. Every Saturday morning at the local farmer’s market, we would stretch our budget with a new bar of freshly made chocolate and each evening, after the kids were asleep, we’d share a tiny square until the night it occurred to us that WE could learn how to make this type of pure chocolate and introduce it to Atlanta where we knew other people would love it too.
Excited by the idea of this newest adventure, we flew back to Atlanta with bags packed full of Costa Rican cacao and spent the next year developing recipes, refining our technique and reaching out to source raw cacao from different origins to highlight the ranging diversity of flavor naturally inherent in fine cacao. By late 2014, we opened our small micro-factory and retail store at the Krog Street Market and quickly became Atlanta’s bean-to-bar craft chocolate company. With a full team now of incredible staff, we’ve been able to grow our company beyond just ourselves and Atlanta, proudly shipping our chocolate to customers across the US.
Although we didn’t come from the food industry, building this craft food business is a natural if indirect extension of our previous careers. As a former campaign manager to the late and great Congressman John Lewis among other progressive political leaders, Matt is committed to leveraging Xocolatl as a force for social good in our local community and beyond. A former Peace Corps Volunteer, Elaine also worked in international and domestic non-profits on issues like environmental justice and improving livelihoods and knows that business choices at home have the power to elevate human potential and environmental stability across our interconnected world. With our orientation pointed toward social justice and our tastes deeply planted in honestly made foods, we hope our chocolate provides you with the same sense of contentment and adventure from which it originally came.
--Founders Elaine Read + Matt Weyandt
What's in a Name?
Xocolatl “chock-oh-LAH-tul”. The original word for chocolate from the Nahuatl language spoken by Aztecs and Mayans who prepared xocolatl as a sugarless drink made of ground cacao, spices, water and cornmeal. “Xocol” means bitter and “atl” means water.
We named our company Xocolatl to honor the ancient cultures who first invented chocolate and to connect modern chocolate lovers with its long history in the Americas. And as an Atlanta based company, we just couldn’t pass up the ATL in the name!
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