Arriving at Sibu Sura Chocolates in Myersville, I first notice the delicious smells—roasting cacao beans, fresh chocolate, sugar, vanilla – wafting in from the back.
Sibu Sura makes artisan chocolates whose quality is carefully maintained. Owner Julie McLean tells me that all the processing – from roasting to packaging – is done in-house using traditional techniques.
“Nothing is outsourced,” says McLean who prides herself on being able to oversee the quality “from farm to factory.”
Fueled by her entrepreneurial spirit, McLean began the company out of her basement in 2007 because of her love of and desire to create better chocolate. The name, Sibu Sura, stems from a creation myth of the Northern Andes that explains the crucial role of cacao in restoring the balance of nature.
McLean began experimenting with cacao beans from all over the world and eventually hand-selected a Peruvian cacao farm, which is certified fair trade and organic. And she is committed to making a difference with her company besides just using fair trade beans.
Sibu Sura supports sustainable agriculture by using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paper in its packaging; the FSC promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. Sibu Sura also donates part of all proceeds to Justice for Children, an organization dedicated to helping abused and neglected children.
But all this goodwill doesn’t compare to the chocolate itself.
Sibu Sura chocolates, made with all natural ingredients, come in a variety of flavors: decadent dark chocolate with 70% cacao, milk chocolate with 40% cacao, white chocolate, and six Funky Bars including dark ancho chili, dark cherry almond, milky vanilla bean, dark chocolate with roasted nibs, island bar, and triple explosion.
McLean favors them all but “gravitates toward the dark.”
Karolina Gajdeczka was a summer intern at Maryland Life.