Honey’s Meet-Cute with Honeymoon Chocolates

Blueberry Lavender

Before Honeymoon Chocolates was founded in 2016, chocolate was a dorm room kitchen hobby for Co-Founder Cam Loyet. He was testing the waters of what a possible chocolate company could do in terms of global versus local, while minimizing mistakes and maximizing quality. Cam spoke to the National Honey Board about working with honey in chocolates, cocoa sourcing and the delicious flavor combinations at Honeymoon Chocolates.

How did the decision to use honey in your products come about?
In our opinion, cocoa was the global aspect, but in terms of local we wanted that to be the sweetener. The only thing we could find that could be a viable addition was honey, and we’ve been using honey for the last 7 years.

Where do you get your flavor combination inspiration?
With our flavor combinations, honey does have the main starting point. We use mostly spring honeys, but other honeys as well that lend themselves to being bright, floral and really tasting sweet for our bars. Primarily we sell dark chocolate, but we do have a milk and a white variety. The Blueberry Lavender white chocolate is based on a variety of products that are not only pollinated but an ice cream that my wife had in Hawaii. It’s a really fun combination and [lends itself to] thinking more intentionally about what you consume. It’s in our top three fan favorites.

My favorite is our Raspberry Dark Chocolate. It’s made with 70% Belize dark chocolate and also sweetened with honey.

What are some of the challenges in using honey in chocolate bar development?
We already have an uphill battle [with moisture content and honey]. We combine a fat-based product — cocoa in this instance — with a water-based sweetener, honey. One of our biggest concerns is blooming, so whenever the cocoa doesn’t fully mix with honey, you’ll get blooming. Sometimes you’ll get some moisture coming out of the bar, which is concerning, that is a high fructose or glucose concentration. Thankfully what we’ve done is develop a method for keeping the honey fully integrated and stable at room temperature.

When I was the sole maker my success rate was about 50% per batch. Using a water-based sweetener is very difficult. You can’t go too sweet because then you’re introducing too much water into the oil-based mixture product — cocoa — and honey.

Chocolate is tops with confectionery consumers. How do you stay ahead of the competition?
Our main differentiator is honey. We do our best to highlight that and do our best to not only allow our consumers to taste the chocolate, which is important to us, but also to feel and taste the difference whenever you have honey in a chocolate bar. We also use cocoa from around the world at or above fair trade. The thoughtfulness behind the product didn't’ start or stop with honey; we carried that over into the cocoa planning and sourcing process.

Healthful indulgence is a key trend. How does having an all-natural sweetener in your product help that cause?
Having two differentiators allows us to hit a really interesting part of the market. Some of our best customers are people who have a healthy and active lifestyle. We also have a lot of interest in the floral and gifting side from the fact that we use products from pollinators.

Any new made-with-honey bars coming this year?
Our normal 2.2 ounce is made with all home compostable packaging, but something smaller is coming in a more accessible price range and sweetened with honey that the normal consumer would enjoy buying.