3 brothers make healthy chocolate at Bronx factory

PORT MORRIS, The Bronx (WABC) -- The Mahoney brothers don't have a chocolate river in their Bronx chocolate factory. They'd rather keep things simple.

At Sol Cacao in the Port Morris section, Dominic, Nicolas and Daniel Mahoney use only two ingredients to make their craft chocolate bars: cane sugar and cacao beans.

"We're taking chocolate beyond 'sweet' and putting it on the pedestal it deserves," Daniel said.

Dominic, the oldest, is a biologist; Nicolas, the middle child, is a registered nurse; and Daniel, the youngest, is an engineer -- but all three brothers identity as "chocolatiers."

"We really feel that cacao is in our blood," Dominic said.

That's because the trio was born in Trinidad and Tobago, islands with rich histories in cacao farming. Their grandfather emigrated from Venezuela to Trinidad and ran a cacao farm, and their great-grandmother planted sugarcane, so making chocolate felt like a natural path for the three.

So when they opened Sol Cacao in 2015, the Mahoneys were motivated to introduce New York City to the taste of "real" chocolate, bars without soy lecithin, milk fat and other additives.

"A lot of chocolates are made with 10 percent cacao, and the other 90 percent is additives and a bunch of things the body doesn't really need," Nicolas said.

Chocolate, made with 70 percent cacao and above, also has health benefits, Nicolas said.

"It not only tastes good -- It's good for you," he said. "it's good for cardiovascular health. It's good for digestion."

The brothers said most customers are surprised that so much flavor comes from cacao beans, but each of their three bars of chocolate carries a distinct flavor.

The Madagascar bar tends to taste like raisins, plums and cherries. Ecuador is earthier with subtle notes of almonds, walnuts and florals. Peru tastes like a combination of dried fruit and cinnamon, almost like it's been aged in an oak barrel.

At the moment, Sol Cacao produces 1,500 chocolate bars a week, and just recently, they began selling their hand-wrapped bars at every Whole Foods in New York City.

You can find Sol Cacao craft chocolate bars at Whole Foods or order online at www.solcacao.com. The brothers also plan to open a chocolate tasting room at the factory this summer.
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