Heavenly! John & Kira’s Chocolates

Background Note & Link: A few years I did a piece called CHOCOLATE: The Good, the Bad, & the Delicious (http://www.menupause.info/archives/108) in which I wrote: “Therefore, chocolate can be labeled good or bad, depending on its quality (natural or artificial ingredients) and the amount of raw cacao bean in the item (the higher the % the better).” I usually buy 70-80% bittersweet chocolate and like it better than milk chocolate.  I think John & Kira’s meets my standards for good quality chocolate.


My Visit to John & Kira’s:

Here is the “chocolate crew” in the oversized kitchen.

John & Kira’s Chocolates are right here in Philadelphia off Roosevelt Blvd. Earlier in the fall, my husband I had the opportunity to interview Amber Hinshaw, the general manager, who just happens to be my youngest daughter’s childhood friend. What amazed me most was not just the superior quality of the chocolates we sampled, both at J & K’s but also from the gifts Amber brought to our house when she visited my daughter, but rather how the making of the chocolate is done with painstaking care in a space about as large as a small commercial kitchen. Almost everything is done by hand by a few loyal employees who work very carefully to make sure the chocolates look as good as they taste.

chocolate ladybugs

If you go on their website, you can see the beautiful chocolates made into ladybugs (above), bumblebees and mushrooms as well as traditional shapes. (www.johnandkiras.com). Also on the website and on the small folded taste guide brochure, I learned what I think is the reason for these heavenly chocolates. Here’s a quote from the brochure:

“We choose to buy directly from farmers and growers who share a commitment to the environment and their community.”

John & Kira’s Chocolate Company buys quality ingredients from small family farms, seeking good quality fruits, nuts, coffee and herbs, investing in the farmers’ way of life. While this may be considered a natural evolution from farm to a box of chocolates, J & K believes it’s a small chocolate revolution. Here is a sample list of the farms where John & Kira’s buys their quality ingredients:

  1. Drew Elementary Garden Mint
  2. Glenn’s Raspberries named after Farmer Glenn right in PA.
  3. Mut Vitz Coffee Whiskey from the Fair Trade Mut Vitz Cooperative in Mexico
  4. Lavender Honey from the Draper Family Apiaries.
  5. Papohaku Ginger from Ellen Sugawara’s farm in Hawaii

What I think is important is that the John & Kira Chocolate Company believes not only in paying a living wage and contributing to the community while caring for the environment, but they also embrace the delicate process of producing an absolutely delicious product. So here you have a perfect combination of quality ingredients from family farms, a commitment to the environment, and a small crew who lovingly create delicious chocolates, placing them in attractive boxes to be sold wholesale or online to people who appreciate good quality chocolate. In fact, there were already stacks of empty boxes waiting to be filled with chocolates at the plant, and sent out to chocolate retailers and wholesalers for the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s.

These individual chocolates are sprinkled by hand.

I was impressed by the down-to-earth people who grow the ingredients on their family farms, the hands-on approach in the “oversized kitchen” that leads to heavenly handcrafted chocolates — one piece at a time — and the commitment the company has to the environment. The owners turned down a lucrative account recently, because the company wanted more than J&K could produce and still maintain their quality, so they did not accept the offer. That takes integrity and grit!

Two crew members working together in a corner of the “kitchen.”

Amber herself says that this is her dream job, so she enjoys a little bite of heaven every day at work. John & Kira’s chocolates are smooth and delicious-tasting, and taste even better to me because of where the ingredients are grown and how the employees do their jobs carefully and consciously. Look for John & Kira’s chocolates online at www.johnandkiras.com or in your local chocolate shop. The little brown boxes with the striped ribbon-like band are easy to spot. Enjoy them sparingly because chocolate is a treat, not a food group. But what a heavenly treat!

2 Responses to “Heavenly! John & Kira’s Chocolates”

  1. Roz Warren Says:

    I’ve had these and they are terrific. It’s great to learn more about the shop.

  2. ellen sue spicer Says:

    Thanx! Their choc. covered figs are delicious! ellensue

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