For this feature in our Local Spotlight, we interviewed Barkeater Chocolates and the co-owners, Jim & Debbie Morris, to learn more about their business nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks. Located near the base of Gore Mountain ski area in North Creek, NY, mouth-watering gourmet chocolate truffles are handmade using a European process in small batches in a variety of explosive flavors. Here are the questions and their responses:
What was the inspiration behind the creation of Barkeater Chocolates?
After a couple of years of training, interning, traveling, and giving away product at fundraisers, we formally began Barkeater Chocolates in 2008 because at that time, high end, affordable chocolate with wholesome ingredients and flavor was hard to come by. We wanted to make a delicious mouth-watering product with the absolute best flavors, that we ourselves wanted to eat! Like we remembered enjoying as children...but had somehow ceased to exist as adults.
When did you develop an interest in confectioneries?
Chocolate was always an addiction...and we loved working with it early on despite it being a chemically fickle product to master. Labor of love we call it!
What is the best part about being based in North Creek, NY?
Community support is high. And we love hiring people locally and supporting so many great local causes.
If you had to pick one item out of your product line right now as your favorite, what would it be?
Grown Up Peanut Butter Cups in either milk or dark. Hands down.
How do you incorporate sustainable practices into your product line? Do you use organic or local ingredients?
While we use almost all certified organic flavor oils, you won't read it on our labels because we have not undertaken the large investment to make our facility certified organic, nor do we see many people insisting on that, as they trust our sourcing of the highest quality, always all-natural ingredients. As for local ingredients, we do source much of our peanut butter and all of our maple products locally as well as those for specialty, limited run, and seasonal products.
What is the greatest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Supply issues due to delayed delivery of key ingredients by our vendors has been the biggest challenge, so we’ve learned a ton about logistics and secondary sources.
What’s next for your business? Do you have any plans for expansion or new products you’re releasing in the near future?
Well, we just imported new wrapping equipment we had manufactured for us in the UK, and are undertaking a refresh of the chocolate factory store, just in time for our tenth-year anniversary celebrations (stay tuned!). Also, we introduce new products to the marketplace every year and have plans for a new variety of peanut butter cups to be introduced this spring, and a new bar flavor toward the end of this year, along with an ever-evolving selection of custom confections and flavor combinations.
Do you have a favorite place to explore in the Adirondacks?
We like to make day trips and overnights to Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, but also enjoy many of the towns in between for their shops, eateries, and pubs.
What's your go-to activity in the Adirondacks?
Exploring the bike trail that starts in Lake George...and of course, hanging by the local swimming holes in the summer. We enjoy camping too - naturally, we bring our own s’mores ingredients!
To learn more or shop Barkeater Chocolates, visit their factory store in North Creek or find them online at BarkeaterChocolates.com.
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