In 2004, Sarah Hart wondered why so many chocolate easter bunnies were so awful. The chocolate was waxy, the designs so tacky. Theobroma held so much promise. It was, after all, the food of the gods. Why not make something worthy?
In 2005, Sarah started playing with chocolate recipes, creating iconic molds and hand-gilding them in edible gold leaf. She perfected these treats the hard way, through trial and error. When she discovered that Alma -- her grandmother's name -- meant soul in Spanish and nourish in Latin, she knew she had one divinely edible concept. Wanting to take it to the next level, she found an instructor to come to her home; Ian Titterton taught Sarah what he knew about chocolate. When Sarah’s kitchen became too small to keep up with orders, she began selling at the Farmer’s Market, where she still keeps a booth on Saturdays.
In 2006 Alma chocolate opened a retail storefront and quickly garnished waves of media attention, critical accolades and a devoted fan following. In 2008, Hart was named “The Rising Star” in The Next Generation Chocolatier Awards (the James Beard awards of the chocolate industry). She staged at Valrhona in France and kept growing the chocolate line and the shop’s offerings. She now manages a small staff of talented chocolatiers, bakers and barristas who have helped grow Alma’s offerings to include small batch ice-creams, chocolatey drinks, espressos and choco-centric baked goods.
Called "theobroma" or food of the gods in Latin, we believe that good chocolate is worthy of worship. We make every batch of toffee, every jar of caramel, every bar and each hand-dipped bon bon with the intention of honoring chocolate.
ALMA has been called an innovator in flavor, but what we strive to do is coax out and balance the flavors of cacao with organic cream, butter, sugar, nuts, and fresh herbs and spices - not to mask or overpower them.
Part of being a confectioner, too, is using chocolate that is grown, traded, and finished with care and intention. We know that certifications can be costly, and sometimes lack transparency, which is why our house chocolate is an organic single estate that we have personally researched and feel good about. We would never use a chocolate that didn't align with our core values, and work hard to choose accordingly.
We are passionate about our hometown, as well. Inspired by the legion of talented growers and makers in the Pacific NW, we collaborate with and source from our friends and neighbors as often as possible. We may not be able to grow cacao in Oregon, but there is just about everything else, and our origins at the Farmers Market still inform the ingredients and community spirit we embrace today.