Chocolate is one of life’s simple pleasures. Scientists even say that chocolate elicits feelings of joy thanks to the happy hormone dopamine that is naturally released in your brain when you eat it.
Nick Moss and Juan Diego Lavalle, the co-owners of Loveland Chocolate Company, have united their complementary connections and expertise to bring more of the love of chocolate to Loveland.
The self-taught chocolatiers, who launched their sweet brand in February 2021 amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, have learned a thing or two about the complex simplicity of chocolate in all its forms from bean to bite. On one hand, it’s a simple story of an inspired idea brought to life. On the other hand, what actually happens behind the scenes is much more complex.
Moss and Diego Lavalle, long-time friends who met in Miami and reconnected as business partners in Loveland, are mastering the nuances of one of the world’s finest cacao beans, the Arriba Cacao bean from Ecuador.
A bean by any other name just wouldn’t be the same. As Nick says, “It’s the highest-quality chocolate available in the world.” The beans are known for having a ’superior’ taste that varies depending on where in the country they are grown. That variability is part of what makes the bean, and the chocolate it becomes, such a coveted commodity.
Diego Lavalle, a native of Ecuador, literally stumbled upon the Arriba Cacao beans when he walked among the chocolate hills as a kid. His organic roots and personal connections have been instrumental to the complex adventure of procuring the renowned chocolate from South America. The beans are harvested and roasted in Ecuador before being imported to Colorado, and into the creative hands of Moss and Diego Lavalle in the form of one kilo, raw chocolate bricks.
“Chocolate has its own personality; it has to be handled with care.”
- Nick Moss, Co-Owner, Loveland Chocolate Company
It takes a careful hand to temper the raw product and to craft it into the beautiful creations it becomes. Moss and Diego Lavalle turn out their artful concoctions in the shared kitchen space at Eclectic House Home Decor & Artisan Market.
Saturday is ‘test day’ in the chocolate kitchen where they let their creativity run wild. That’s how they come up with such interesting concepts as their ‘Honey Lavender Hearts’ made of honey-infused, local lavender melded together with their world-class chocolate.
A simple idea turned into a best selling item by way of what Nick describes as a ‘playful’ chocolate spread that’s become a big hit at the Tuesday Farmers Market where Loveland Chocolate makes an appearance.
“I love collaborating with people in the community; it’s amazing to see what other people create with our chocolate.” - Nick Moss, Co-Owner, Loveland Chocolate Company
Nick and Juan aren’t the only ones cooking up goodness with their treasured chocolate. The bulk of Loveland Chocolate’s sales are to bakeries, restaurants, and cafes across town like The Cupcake Gypsies and Laureate Publick House, who use the raw chocolate to make their own culinary delights. Moo Town Treatery in Berthoud has incorporated Loveland Chocolate’s hazelnut spread into their aptly named Chocolate Haze ice cream which sounds positively dreamy.
All of their chocolate is 100% organic, dairy free, and gluten free. Everything is 70% dark chocolate for now; however, they have a vision for expanding to milk chocolate and other dark varieties in the future.
Loveland Chocolate Company’s bites and bars are simple to get your hands on by either ordering online at lovelandchocolate.com, or by stopping in at Sweetheart City General Kitchen, Eclectic Market, Verboten Brewing, Sandos Sandwiches at Desk Chair, or TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Loveland, The Rancher’s Wife in Berthoud, The Merc in Mead.
What does the future hold for Loveland Chocolate Company? Nick wants to collaborate with more restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and ice cream shops to find new and inspired ways of bringing the world-class chocolate to culinary life. They will continue selling their own works of heart in boutique shops throughout the region.
After all, according to Nick there is a chocolate legacy to be made and it has his young son’s name written all over it.
Loveland Chocolate Company
528 N. Cleveland Avenue
Loveland, Colorado 80537