A former engineer creates a delightful formula for vegans - GulfToday

A former engineer creates a delightful formula for vegans

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Charm School Chocolate has recently opened a larger production facility where they will offer tours and tastings. TNS

Hallie Miller

The cocoa beans manufactured for Hunt Valley’s Charm School Chocolate factory and retail store arrive in 120-pound burlap sacks, with anywhere from 35,000 to 40,000 large almond-shaped nuggets per bag.

Carefully but nimbly, Joshua Rosen — the facility’s owner and the company’s founder, frontman, head chocolate maker and business developer — sifts through piles of cocoa beans to weed out those that fall below his company’s standards. They must be whole, not cracked; singular, not adjoined; uniform, not discolored, distorted or dwarfed.

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Joshua Rosen, founder of Charm School Chocolate, sorts cacao beans. TNS

“A lot of reading and science goes into this,” Rosen, 36, says as he sorts through a sample of fudge-colored teardrops from Guatemala. He grabs a pre-sorted bucket of quality-meeting beans and holds it up high. This, the Hampden resident says, is not yet chocolate, but chocolate potential — the foundation of his meticulously prepared, thoroughly researched, award-winning delicacy.

Rosen’s business specializes in concocting dairy-free and vegan milk, white and dark chocolate treats using high-quality ingredients, homemade recipes and even hand-crafted machinery that he helped design, a testament to his short-lived career as a mechanical engineer.

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Joshua Rosen, fills trays of chocolate by hand. TNS

Since pivoting to the culinary industry about 10 years ago, his creation has since gone on to take home top honors from the International Chocolate Awards.

Charm School Chocolate candies are now sold in dozens of stores and shops across North America, including Baltimore’s 3 Bean Coffee, Little Baby’s Ice Cream and Ceremony Coffee Roasters in Mount Vernon.

But at the newly opened, 2,800-square-foot space in Hunt Valley, Rosen seeks to not only expand his chocolate potential but also create a family-friendly experience, one that allows visitors to tour the facility, learn more about the process and enjoy a wide range of tasty, vegan treasures that they can’t get elsewhere.

“For vegans, it’s difficult to find myriad options, so it’s important for us to provide the full spectrum,” he said, adding that the vast majority of chocolate makers have relied on dairy products like milk to achieve chocolate’s sweet taste and soft, smooth texture. “Most chocolate is not dairy free. It’s extremely unusual.”

Tribune News Service