Belle Chocolates: Bean to Bar
How Brendan Patrick opened Chattanooga’s first Bean to Bar chocolate company.
It was while on a brief vacation that Brendan Patrick first encountered the idea of Bean to Bar chocolate. He had just recently rediscovered his passion for food while working as a chef but still didn’t feel complete doing this. So, he returned to Chattanooga and opened Belle Chocolates, a bean-to-bar chocolate shop that has been successfully operating since January of 2019.
To enter into the world of entrepreneurship, he left behind his grueling hours as a chef to dedicate his time to learning how to make chocolate from home. After a year of refining his practice, he opened his business and began to quickly sell his no-preservatives, no-emulsifiers, no-added-ingredient chocolate.
“Bean to Bar is a manifestation of the food ethic that I value the most: use the best ingredients possible, and present them in a simple, thoughtful form. Bean to Bar chocolate is made, quite literally, starting with raw Cacao beans,” Brendan said.
Belle Chocolates completes the entire chocolate-making process in-house. They roast, crack, winnow, refine, temper, and package everything themselves. In addition, all of their ingredients are organic and Fair or Direct Trade, meaning that they come from places that make quality and sustainability their priority.
Brendan’s shop reached record sales in February 2020, but sales began to decrease as the COVID-19 pandemic became more and more of a burden. Belle Chocolates navigated the new challenge by opening an online-shopping portal and selling chocolate at the Main Street Farmers Market as well as various places across the country.
“As of this February, I am coming through another record, and things are feeling and looking good for the future,” Brendan said.
Belle Chocolates collaborates with other local businesses, such as Bleu Fox Cheese Shop, Alms and Fare, and Velo Coffee, and local chefs, like Randall Gresham of Pizzeria Cortile.
Going forward, Brendan wants to develop a broader menu of chocolates while also continuing to improve his technique. With the help of his first employee, he also hopes to be producing chocolate seven days a week in the near future.
To keep up with Belle Chocolates, follow them on Instagram or Facebook. For online shopping, visit bellechocolates.com.