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Local Vendor Focus: SRSLY Chocolate

SRSLY Chocolate (pronounced seriously) is our Vendor Focus for February, just the right company to see more of during the Month of Love. Bob and Robin Williamson are the owners of SRSLY Chocolate, a bean to bar chocolate company located right here in Austin, TX! Bob and Robin were nice enough to answer some questions about their lovely chocolates!

How did you get started making chocolate?
Bob used to bake baguettes and pastries for the farmers markets in Tallahassee, FL. One day, he decided to make chocolate from scratch for a croissant recipe. After pulsing cacao nibs in a food processor and watching the transformation to chocolate, he was hooked. From that moment onward, we’ve focused on making really great handcrafted bean to bar chocolate.
With a commitment to produce the finest chocolate in a sustainable manner, we use organic & fair trade cacao and cane sugar to handcraft each bar. Our cacao comes from a cooperative in the Dominican Republic that reinvests back into the community, building roads, clinics and schools. Our cacao beans are sorted, roasted, cracked, winnowed and stone ground in granite mills to produce an elegant and assertive chocolate. Gentle, low and slow roasting develops great flavor while preserving delicate aromas. Stone ground chocolate has a rustic texture that reminds us of its origin. Each bar is hand wrapped with love We’re serious about what we do!

What is your favorite flavor?
Bob: Oaxacan Espresso. Cacao and chilies have been used together for millennia. This ancient combination is exciting and intriguing in our bar. Add a little locally roasted coffee from our friends at Third Coast Coffee and you’ve got a really fantastic chocolate bar that incorporates and highlights its rich Mesoamerican history with local ingredients.

Robin: 70%. Honestly each flavor has gone through a phase of being my favorite at one point or another. I’ll get stuck on one for about five months and then rediscover a new one and then get hooked on that! Right now I’m finding myself reaching for the 70% plain dark a lot more. It’s a perfect match to whatever mood I find myself in. It’s rich, dark slightly malty fruity flavor really hits the spot!
Is there an unusual way to use your chocolate bars?
I think there’s someone in Austin that does chocolate massage… whatever that is. So yeah, I’d think that qualifies as unusual. But really, chocolate is an amazingly versatile thing. You can eat it in so many forms from a simple, elegant chocolate bar to rich luscious hot chocolate to chocolate brownies. Chocolate is great with anything!
Are there any new flavors on the horizon?
Yes... too many really. In a perfect world, I’d release a new flavor every week, ad infinitum. But really, a new flavor every few months is the way to go. We’ve been working with local Texas olive oil for a bar. Local is a big focus for us. It’s really hard to take cacao that’s grown two thousand miles away, preserve its sense of terroir and try to synthesize it with its production here in Texas. What else? Halvah. Cardamom and Pistachio. Texas Lavender. Keep your eyes peeled for some really interesting stuff.
Why did you move from Florida to Texas?
Because everything is better in Texas! But really, Robin used to live here in Austin about six years ago. She loved it and when I came to visit, I fell in love instantly. No offense to our Floridian brethren. Austin’s got a great food scene and really great citizens who help foster a supportive environment. It called out to us like it has to so many new residents. We’re pumped to be a part of it!
Where do you see SRSLY in five years?
We see ourselves as a regional chocolate maker with deep Texas roots providing one of a kind handcrafted chocolate made with organic and ethically sourced cacao. Our vision has us doing a couple of really great things in 2019: working directly with cacao farmers, building our own facility, employing fellow Austinites. It’s a long road but we’re up to task!

CLASS:  Chocolate Making
Instructor:  Bob Williamson
DATE:  Saturday, February 7
TIME:  1pm-3pm
COST:  $35
WHERE:  4001 South Lamar Community Room

Ever wondered how chocolate was made? Learn how cacao is transformed into chocolate with SRSLY chocolate’s own Bob Williamson. Watch as cacao beans are cracked, winnowed and refined into chocolate. Taste some fantastic chocolates from SRSLY chocolate while we learn about cacao’s history and impact, past and present. Learn the basics, ask some questions and go home with a bar of fine flavor craft chocolate!