Beans, Bars and Bonbons – Kamp Kyya Chocolate Class
March 21, 2016
About five minutes down the road, in the don’t blink or you’ll miss it town of Elm Springs, Arkansas lies an 1800 square-foot building (it used to be a Mexican restaurant) that houses the stuff chocolate dreams are made of. Kyya Chocolate, born in the laundry room of Rick Boosey-an account executive in another life-came to fruition after he encountered children living in orphanages on a trip to Africa. The impact those children made on him during that trip changed his life. He wanted to make a difference and in order to do just that, he researched how he could work with locals to help garner their productivity and independence. One resource stood out: a bean; the cocoa bean in particular. So after much research he set out to make chocolate.
His travels have taken him to countries like Ecuador, The Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea and Ghana. Soon he’ll be in Haiti. Rick builds relationships with local cocoa bean farmers in these countries and pays them above fair-trade pricing. In turn, Kyya is part of every step of the chocolate making process; from harvesting to designing their flavors. I love that there is nothing artificial here. When they say from bean to bar, it is in the literal sense of the words. He has a gift for business and for superb creations. With the only chocolate press in the state of Arkansas, Rick is sharing his gift with others.
On a cool Saturday afternoon we joined in the Kamp Kyya class – where you eat your mistakes. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but it involved chocolate and making bonbons so we were excited! When we arrived, Rick took us back and we sampled what was mixing (it was thick and delicious) then it came time to don our hairnets and get to work:
We gathered around and listened to Rick instruct us. I think we all had a bit of a deer in the headlights look, but he guided us through it all. You have to move a bit fast, but the machine does a lot of the work for you so that helps:
After letting the chocolate set in the fridge, it came time to fill our bonbons. K did all of hers the same – stuffing them with crumbled oreos, marshmallows and a bit of honey. The hubs and I tried to mix it up a bit with raspberry, peanut butter, nutella, nuts and fillings that even included a few drops of tabasco. As you can see his looked extremely professional and uniform. You could neeeevvver tell he was in the military, right?
After we finished filling our bonbons, we made even more of a mess running chocolate back over our molds to close up our creations. We wouldn’t want any of that chocolate going to waste, so we may have nibbled what we scraped off! We also enjoyed Kyya chocolate with almonds and chatted with others who took the class. Rick explained that he’d like to expand to working with farmers in 80 countries and I fully believe he will do just that. After about fifteen minutes it was time to take our molds out of the fridge, give them a whack and admire the fruits chocolate of our labor!
We wrapped up our creations and headed home. Rick made sure to tell us not to touch the bottoms of our containers or we’d compromise the temperature of the chocolate. We said our thank-yous and see you laters then later that night thoroughly enjoyed. 🙂
We’ll definitely return. It would be a great date or family fun day and the classes are limited to seven people so you get a good hands-on experience.
As I get to know my new community, I look forward to finding more fun activities in the area to share! If you have any suggestions, please send them my way. For more info on Kamp Kyya:
Kyya Chocolate Location: School St, Elm Springs, AR 72762
Cost of class: $40 per person
Length of class: 2 to 2.5 hours
*This is not a sponsored post. I just wanted to bring a great local business to everyone’s attention. You can order from them online and their chocolates are also found in various retail locations.