Photo: John Carlisle
While AJ Wentworth attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City in 2009, he worked at a local deli and made raw chocolate bars in his spare time. “I would spend an evening making chocolate and would take it all to school and give it away. After doing that for three or four months, I started packaging it and learning how to make it look good,” says Wentworth. It didn’t take long for students at his school to start asking why he wasn’t selling the homemade chocolate, and what started as a hobby turned into a way to make four to five hundred dollars in a weekend at school. From there it became a passion.
Wentworth started touring the country doing festivals and sourcing raw, organic and fair-trade cacao out of Ecuador. Wentworth uses an heirloom cacao bean by the name of Arriba Nacional, grown deep in the rainforests of Ecuador, completely free of any kind of hybridizing or grafting.
Wentworth sets himself apart from most chocolate makers by using honey to sweeten his chocolate as opposed to agave or high fructose corn syrup. “[Honey] is such a spiritual food in the sense that it’s been used for thousands of years. It’s anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, high in B vitamins, it’s a longevity food,” says Wentworth. “I want people to understand that they can have chocolate every day and not feel guilty about it. It’s so nutritious and my products are so medicinal, and it’s funny because we just think of chocolate as junk,” he says.
Wentworth currently operates Chocolate Conspiracy out of a kitchen he shares with Renee’s Gluten Free Heaven. His line of bars features five flavors: Goji (an Asian berry), Maca (a South American root), Wild Spice, Mint and Dark. In the near future, Wentworth has plans to release a premier series of 12 chocolate bars, and a specialty line of three bars featuring honey sourced entirely from local farmers.
Wentworth knows all there is to know about chocolate, and nothing gets him more excited than sharing his passion with the world. Chocolate Conspiracy is blasting away myths and misconceptions surrounding chocolate and blazing a path for high-end chocolate makers here in Utah.