Domantas Užpalis is the creative chocolatier behind Chocolate Naive. Based in the small town of Giedraičiai, Lithuania (population of less than 1,000), he is one of very few bean-to-bar producers in Europe. Domantas does everything from sourcing the cacao beans, to roasting, winnowing, conching and tempering, all in a small farmhouse next to lake Kiementas on the Eastern side of Lithuania.
Using beans from Grenada, Uganda or Cuba and ingredients such as Lithuanian forest honey and local milk, Domantas and his team blend unique flavors together with expertly made chocolate to create bars that are unusual and delicious. Domantas highlights the origin of the cocoa beans and still remains faithful to the European style of making chocolate by producing a chocolate that is rich, creamy and complex.
We received in our first shipment of Chocolate Naive bars on Friday, September 13. You should have seen the big grin that lit up Julia’s face when it came through our door – Julia is our chocolate buyer and it took her several months to organize for this new chocolate to wend its way across Europe, and then finally across the ocean to our shelves. She persisted because it was such a unique and delicious find. We asked her about Naive Chocolate and this is what she said:
“Naive both represents traditional European chocolate making but goes against the grain at the very same time. It’s very rare to find such a small-scale, bean-to-bar producer in Europe and, what’s even better, is that Domantas is sourcing as locally as possible – for example the forest honey and the milk that he uses. So, while texturally Naive is representative of a European chocolate, it goes far beyond that flavor-wise. In particular, the forest honey and hazelnut cream bars blew my mind. The forest honey was just such a unique pairing and the hazelnut cream was completely unabashed indulgence.”
Julia recommends pairing the Naive hazelnut bar with a glass of Cardamaro.