A real chocolate factory has opened in Carmel Valley.
At the new Seabreeze Craft Chocolates in Piazza Carmel, owner and chocolatier Jim Lantry offers an up-close look at the chocolate-making process, from grinding and roasting the cocoa beans to the luxurious swirl of chocolate in a mélange. . After a three-day process, the silky-smooth chocolate is used to create his Seabreeze confections, including truffles, bonbons, bars, and chocolate his spreads. Also, he is one of Seabreeze’s unique products. A hit for hostess gifts and sweet jolts among the meats, cheeses and nuts on board.
Last week, a customer struggled to make a decisive choice from a variety of options at the counter. “I’m having a Willy Wonka moment.
Lantry had his Willy Wonka moment in 2020. He was a successful lobbyist for his 40 years, fought over issues such as military housing, and spent the last 12 years devoting himself to autism and trying to get behavioral therapy covered by health insurance.
With the Capitol closed during the pandemic, he found he had plenty of extra time not having to travel back and forth to Sacramento.
“I made chocolate instead of sourdough,” he said.
He learned the art of chocolate making, watched how-to videos on YouTube, and read “Making Chocolate” by the San Francisco-based team at Tampopo Chocolate. He secured high-quality cocoa beans sourced from the Mayan Mountains of Belize, learned how to make chocolate in his kitchen, roasted it in the oven, and mixed it into a little he-five-pound melange.
“I decided I liked it, it was fun and people enjoyed my chocolate,” Lantry said.
Lantry learned the business side of chocolate in Hawaii. Hawaii is he one of two places where cacao is grown in the United States, the other being Puerto Rico. (He tried to plant his own cacao tree in his hoya backyard, but it was “too cold” and he only lasted 20 days). He gives lessons as he develops his own flavor profile and style.
After Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would increase the number and types of health insurance coverage for treating autism, Lantry officially retired from lobbying to devote himself full-time to chocolate. became.
“It was sour, but now we’re starting the sweet,” he said.
Originally, Lantry intended to open a store in Encinitas, but found a suite available in Piazza Carmel, a familiar zip code. Lantry lived in her valley in Carmel for 17 years and raised her three children in the area. His son worked at his Robins storefront in Baskin, now home of the Sea Breeze, during high school.
Converting the former Baskin-Robbins space into a chocolate factory was a lengthy permitting process with the city and took about a year to get all the necessary approvals. Self-made wall murals detail the chocolate-making process. Until the artisans skillfully harvest the pods and ferment the cocoa beans in banana leaves.
The cocoa roaster and the melange each have their own private rooms with windows in the front, and the interior is filled with the aroma of chocolate.
Seabreeze roasts cocoa from select farms in the Western Hemisphere, primarily in Chiapas, Mexico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Over the last few years, he has learned a lot about the difference between good and bad beans, the poor quality of production in some countries, and unfair labor practices.
“I am very careful about where I buy my beans. There is only one person between me and the farmer in the supply chain,” he says. It speaks to our efforts to support business practices.
In his creations, Lantry specializes in dark bitter-free chocolates and dark milk chocolates. Dark milk chocolate is chocolate made with the legal minimum amount of milk and has a pronounced chocolate taste. As the only chocolatier on staff, he devised all the flavors and candy designs (the signature swirls and color blotches).
Seabreeze boasts flavors such as brown sugar, salted caramel, horchata, peanut butter and jelly, margarita, dragon fruit, white chocolate honey, chili, cinnamon and vanilla-infused Aztec ganache.
He has chocolate-covered dried fruit and a vegan section, currently featuring flavors like boysenberry and pina colada cream. “The vegan section turned out to be very popular in Carmel He Valley. I was surprised,” he said.
He’s always looking for new flavors. The latest flavor came to mind at 3am craving his jalapeno poppers. For a spicy treat, he combined jalapeño jelly and white his chocolate with cream his cheese ganache.
Lantry loves sharing his chocolate-making skills with others, and the shop hosts classes every Tuesday evening and every second and fourth Saturday. Attendees can learn how to make their own chocolates and truffles for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day. Soon, the shop will host a group of students from his school in Delmar Pines, where he will explain the chocolate-making process and create his own bars of chocolate.
A lobbyist turned chocolatier, he’s happy to hear that people like his chocolates and that his style suits their tastes. Help them celebrate and share a little sweet treat.
“I love it. It’s a great new experience,” says Lantry.
Seabreeze Craft Chocolates is located at 3840 Valley Center Drive, Suite 604, San Diego (Carmel Valley), 92130. For more information, visit seabreezechocolates.com/.