In an adorable house in Bishop Arts, the mother-daughter team of CocoAndre makes artisan chocolates with classic techniques and Mexican-inspired ingredients in winsome and whimsical shapes—like high heels—as well as favorites like truffles, pistachio-coconut sea salt bark, and handmade ice cream in flavors like caramel-lavender and dulce de leche.
On Mother’s Day, the duo released a new line of six chocolate bars, including their first forays into bean-to-bar confections. Andrea Pedraza has been making chocolates for 33 years, but this is her first attempt at bringing in raw cacao beans and turning them into solid velvet. The process is laborious and costly—cacao beans that come in whole in the shell mean about a 20 percent loss after the roasting and winnowing, says Pedraza. “When you’re small,” she says, “that’s a lot.” However, it allows her to put her own stamp on the confection. It’s something like the difference between an exemplary, artful coffee shop and a coffee shop that is also a coffee roaster.
The idea of bars had been a long time in the making, says Pedraza’s daughter, Cindy Pedraza Puente. Customer requests prompted them. They had a friend help with the package design, which they have printed at a local Oak Cliff printing shop on Jefferson.
For the three bean-to-bar bars, Pedraza brings in beans from an organic cooperative in Peru, roasts, winnows, and hand-grinds them in a molino before refining them in a rotating refiner, a 9- to 13-hour process depending on the darkness of the bar. The three bean-to-bar bars are at 60, 70, and 85 percent cacao. (An indication of cacao to sugar ratio, and therefore an indication of darkness: the higher the cacao ratio, the darker the bar.) For the other three bars, Pedraza takes Belgian Callebaut chocolate and adds her own touches. All are gorgeous with a smooth finish and flavors that marry well. There is the 60 percent with hibiscus salt and pepitas; the 70 percent with candied violet and cacao nibs; the 54 percent with pecan, candied orange, and cranberry or pistachio, coconut, and sea salt. The Roseberry has rose petals and dried raspberries.
“Her passion is bean-to-bar,” Pedraza Puente confides. For the first batches, they’ve brought in 50 pounds of cocoa beans. For now, Pedraza is using only artisanal equipment—the hand-ground molino, and the refiner that holds five pounds at a time. They’ll have to see if they commit to more cumbersome machinery. But Pedraza is old-school, hand working her chocolate on a marble slab—and always innovating, creating