Like many who got stuck inside during their forties, Michelin-starred pastry chef Jared Bacheller has used his spare time at home to cultivate a new hobby. But forget about half-baked knitting projects and sourdough starters: Bacheller, who previously worked as a pastry chef at Acadia, Sixteen, and Entente, bought a grinder and roaster and started making his own chocolate bars.
“I’ve always made sweets in the fine dining world – gifts, decorations, exhibits – but I’ve never made the product itself,” he explains. “I thought, well, I know how to bake, so I could probably figure that out. ”
For Bacheller, finding out meant taking a few online classes before embarking on the trial and error process of bar making, sharing his creations with friends while working in the Entente’s take-out kitchen. . The process got more serious when the Entente closed in late 2020, and soon after Bacheller officially launched Bad Bach, which now offers chocolate bars, candies, truffles and other shiny confections in small batches. inside the Time Out Market Chicago.
At Bad Bach – a playful nickname that hints at Bacheller’s last name and “being bad at breaking the mold” – Bacheller uses his skills as a pastry chef to craft everything from truffles to mushrooms to the candy menu (yes, to base of real mushrooms) with ganache – toasted and infused vanilla candies, as well as a selection of dark chocolate bars.
Bad Bach’s chocolate is made from single-sourced, ethically-sourced beans, which Bacheller knew would be imperative for its small-batch production after researching and watching documentaries of the grueling labor practices in the chocolate industry. He orders his beans from Uncommon Cacao, a sourcing company that shows how much farmers are paid for their produce in a process called transparent trade (not to be confused with fair trade, which critics say can be a boon for large companies at the expense of small farmers). This means that customers can also see exactly where Bad Bach chocolate comes from, right down to the specific farm or region in each country where it was purchased.
“You can see how much the farmer was paid directly, how much the middle person was paid, and then how much I paid for the beans,” says Bacheller. “I feel like this is the only real way to know that farmers are being compensated properly.
The better the farmers are paid, the better the quality of the beans, Bacheller adds. He likens the production process to roasting coffee, full of nuances depending on where the beans were grown. Unlike the general “chocolate” taste associated with mass-produced bars, the flavor profiles of small-batch production can vary from fruity to nutty or spicy. Bad Bach’s chocolate bars, which are made with 70 percent dark chocolate, feature tasting notes to help guide people through the terroir tasting experience of each bar’s beans: a bar from Maya Mountain in Belize, for example, has notes of pineapple, honey and raisins. Bacheller says the simple production process is meant to showcase the work of farmers.
” They have grown [the chocolate], I harvested it, dried it, fermented it, ”he says. “They organized these beans to be perfect. I’m just kind of like the last step to put it on the edge, basically. “
You can try Bad Bach’s chocolate in small batches every day at the Time Out Market Chicago.