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Bean to Bar: A Film About Artisan Chocolate [***]
(2014) 57 min. DVD or Blu-ray: $15 ($75 w/PPR): public libraries; $95 w/PPR: colleges & universities. The Civil Project (www.beantobarfilm.com).
Director Bob Ridgley’s documentary looks at the current emergence of single-origin chocolate makers in the United States. Sometimes charmingly passionate (Rob Anderson of Fresco Chocolate out of Lynden, WA, mentions how he would even eat unsweetened cocoa powder as a child), and sometimes rather haughty (“For us it’s like…here’s all these people that love chocolate already but they haven’t even had good chocolate,” scoffs Robbie Stout of Ritual Chocolate in Park City, Utah), the many chocolatiers featured here have plenty to say about the subject. Providing a short history of the bean, from its Olmec crop roots to its rise in popularity during the Industrial Revolution (spurred on by a little company named Hershey), Bean to Bar focuses on the various steps that artisanal chocolate-makers take in creating their tasty confections, including research, travel, growing and harvesting, fermentation, sorting, roasting, tasting, using unique tools for grinding and mixing (including the three roll mill processor), marketing, and fair trade issues. Offering an interesting look at a specialized food industry, this is recommended. Aud: P. (J. Williams-Wood)
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