Idea: While on their honeymoon, Kristin and Josh Mohagen honeymooned in Napa Valley, ready for an adventure in wine-tasting. What really piqued their tastebuds, though, were the exquisite products of chocolate makers they found in the valley and in San Francisco. Today, the Mohagens are creating artisan chocolate straight from Fergus Falls, Minnesota, with just two ingredients—cocoa beans from a plant whose scientific name “Theobroma Cacao” means “food of the gods,” and sugar.
AURI’s role: Scientists helped with nutritional analysis necessary for labeling and provided product shelf-life assistance and scale-up assistance And now, another AURI scientist, Al Doering in Waseca, is helping the Mohagens develop a method for cracking their beans more efficiently.
Outcomes: The Mohagens’ got their facility set up in September 2014, and the business hit the ground running that November. Since the holiday season, marketing has been a major focus. Every weekend Josh and Kristin hit new retail locations and spend hours giving out samples and winning new customers. The business grew from 15 to 50 retail sites in three months, including food co-ops, gourmet food shops and coffee shops. The Mohagens foresee making Terroir Chocolate into a destination, as well as a place of production.