D.C. will soon have a standalone chocolate factory offering tours and tastings. Harper Macaw, which specializes in bars made with cocoa beans from Brazil’s Amazon and Atlantic rainforests, is set to open on Dec. 12 at 3160 Bladensburg Road NE, right next to DC Brau. The chocolate maker will also debut its bars at the opening of Glen's Garden Market in Shaw on Saturday from 12 to 4 p.m. and at The Chocolate House from 1 to 4 p.m.
Harper Macaw comes from Sarah Hartman, a São Paulo native who's worked for Valrhona and San Francisco's Dandelion Chocolate, and her husband Colin Hartman, a U.S. Marines veteran.
The couple will offer four types of bars: three dark chocolate (67, 74, and 74 percent cocoa) and one milk chocolate. The two darkest bars are "single estate," which means the cacao beans are sourced from just one farm. The other two other bars are blends of beans from both farms. The milk chocolate is darker than most with 52 percent cacao and aims to be a bridge between milk and dark. Each bar retails online for $9 each. In addition, Harper Macaw will sell bags of cocoa nibs and various chocolate drops, including some that are 99 percent cacao for baking.
The Hartmans initially named the business Concept C but decided to change it to something a little less serious sounding. The new name references the Harpy Eagle and Blue Hyacinth Macaw—two endangered birds that live in the rainforests that the chocolate makers aim to protect.
Brazilian cocoa crops were devastated by a fungal infestation several decades ago, and many farmers cut down their cocoa plantations (which have a symbiotic relationship with the rainforest and grow inside its canopy) to make way for other things like cattle pastures. The Hartmans aim to encourage rainforest restoration by buying their beans from sustainable cacao farms, which they personally visit.
In addition, five percent of each bar's sales will go toward a non-profit that acquires deforested and threatened land and helps bring back native plants and wildlife.
Harper Macaw's factory will host its grand opening on Dec. 12 from 12 to 6 p.m. with tours and tastings. (They've yet to decide if they will charge a nominal fee for tours.) The factory, open only on Saturdays for now, will sell chocolate plus baked goods made out of its products, including salted caramel brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate-covered coconut macaroons. There will also be various drinking chocolates, including peppermint and chai flavors. The Hartmans are considering whether they'll host classes going forward, but they will offer private events and tastings upon request.
Photo courtesy Harper Macaw