Is There a Chocolate Factory in Houston's Future?

Tejas Chocolate is a young company. Scott Moore, Jr. and his partner Michelle Holland started making chocolate from scratch and working with cacao beans in 2010, and Tejas Chocolate began in earnest in 2011. Scott and Michelle are still working their day jobs running a railroad supply company, while spending nights and weekends producing an average of 15 pounds of chocolate a week. But the owners of this little company have big dreams: they want a chocolate factory right here in Houston.

"We want Tejas Chocolate to be Houston's neighborhood chocolate maker," said Scott. "We want Houstonians to be able to come see how chocolate is made and have a storefront where they can buy Tejas Chocolate bars right there at the factory."

It's going to be some time before Houston has its homegrown version of Ghirardelli Square. In the meantime, though, Tejas is not only making several varieties of chocolate bars, it's also supplying chocolate wholesale to chocolatier Nancy Burke of Chocolat d'Arte and to Cafe Luz.

Cafe Luz also sells Tejas Chocolate bars to the public. For now, the only other ways to get them are through the web site or by picking them up directly from Scott and Michelle.

There are already several varieties, some of which are in limited quantities. Most are 70 percent single-origin dark chocolate bars, including "Concepcion" (Madagascar), "Presidio" (Dominican Republic) and "La Bahia" (Ecuador).

For now, Tejas only makes one "dark" milk chocolate bar. It has 55 percent cocoa content. The recipe includes milk, heavy cream, and coconut milk, and sensibly enough, the bar is called Tres Leches.

Culinary interests run in the Moore family. Scott's mom was a dedicated Southern cook. His brother is a chef at Mancuso's Italian Table and his partner Michelle worked at a gourmet food shop in Panama, Florida. How did Scott and Michelle meet? "I found her on the floor of a bar," he laughed. "She had literally fallen off her bar stool, and I picked her up and put her back on it. She was fine and ready for a shot of tequila, so I knew this was the girl for me."

Scott himself is a verifiable sixth-generation Texan, with roots that can be traced back to the Republic of Texas. Scott has lived in different major cities in Texas most of his life. He was, according to him, "pollinated in Austin, germinated in Dallas and blossomed in Houston."

So, why chocolate? Scott says he was inspired by a Food Network special on Mast Brothers Chocolate, a notable bean-to-bar producer in Brooklyn. "During the show, one of the guys said 'We think every neighborhood should have a chocolate maker,' and that inspired me," said Scott. "The more I researched, the more fascinated I was with how chocolate was made."

Scott hopes to buy some equipment, such as a tempering machine, that will allow them to increase production. He thinks that Tejas Chocolate will soon become their primary business. "Michelle and I are crazy foodies trying to turn a dream into a business reality. The Houston community has been wonderful to us. Houston is home." If the Scott and Michelle are successful, hopefully Houston will be home to its own chocolate factory as well.

Tejas Chocolate can be reached at tejaschocolate@me.com by email, or you can call 281-892-1700. Follow them @tejaschocolate on Twitter for updates.

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Phaedra Cook
Contact: Phaedra Cook