It all started with a dream, a bag of cacao, and a year in France
Like many aspiring deliciosos hoping to make soul-worthy deals at the culinary crossroads, young Alan McClure found himself in France carrying what he owned in a little valise…
He spent his time there seeking food-related experiences & learning opportunities of all kinds…in a land where generations of ardent flavor explorers have been charting the depths of decadence and developing tongue-tantalizing techniques since time immemorial.
Then with little more than a bag of cacao, a sprinkling of culinary magic, and a dream to make the best chocolate in the world—he changed an American industry and delivered to the people a bittersweet taste of heaven.
About Patric Chocolate
Founded in 2006, Patric Chocolate was one of only 7 American craft chocolate companies that opened the floodgates for the First Wave of the U.S. chocolate revolution.
This close-knit group went on to establish the erstwhile Craft Chocolate Makers of America (CCMA) and as a gestalt, helped lay the groundwork for exponential growth in the U.S. craft chocolate industry—which now comprises upwards of 1000 chocolate makers nationwide.
Forefather of the Craft Chocolate Revolution
Long before he was dubbed with that progenitive sobriquet, young Alan McClure developed a taste for delicious through a food-rich childhood—enjoying fresh goat’s milk and produce from his parent’s small family farm, watching intently while his Mexican grandmother flipped tortilla after tortilla by hand over a smoking cast-iron skillet.
That unwavering search for ultimate delicious eventually led him to Lyon and Beaujolais, France, where he studied everything delicious—but most especially chocolate, where he found inspiration in the greats like Valrhona and Bernachon, but also reaching deeper, peering closer, going molecular.
Alan returned from France with a gift for the world. From its founding in 2006, Patric Chocolate quickly rose to legendary status in the chocolate universe, for its unbridled creativity and unusual levels of quality and technique.
When asked about the honorific moniker, founder Alan McClure said, “Plenty of other people deserve the forefather title. Still, it’s nice to be recognized for my hard work and contributions. I’m blushing—you just can’t see it through the beard.”
But success never slowed his quest for supreme scrumptious—and the natural next step for our food-obsessed protagonist was to plumb the deepest depths of delicious, and so he went for a PhD in food science and flavor chemistry.
Through years of study, lab work, and experiment design, the newly minted Dr. Alan McClure learned how to achieve truly optimal flavor through carefully controlled processing techniques, using only the highest quality ingredients (and some inspired personal experimentation like any good mad scientist).
And from that was born Patric Food & Beverage Development, offering food-science consulting for manufacturers, startups, and small-to-medium sized businesses in the food & beverage industry.
More than just awards & records
In the 2020 Good Food Award ceremony, the spotlight fell again on Alan and Patric Chocolate, with special recognition for winning more national awards than any company in any category since the GFA inception. The company has also won plenty of International Chocolate awards and other accolades.
Along with the notoriety and industry hype, Patric Chocolate gained a reputation for quality and—even more important—amassed a cult following, which gradually allowed for a shift away from wholesale distribution, instead selling most of their product direct to the consumer; their truest fans.
Ultimately it’s the people enjoying Patric-lineage chocolates and confectioneries that give it all meaning. Beyond mere sustenance, good food is meant to be shared and enjoyed—the experience is what matters.
In the end, the search for ultimate delicious turns out to be all about you.
The Patric Chocolate Historical Timeline (2006-2021)
- Alan returns from a year in France, where the chocolate tradition (e.g. Valrhona and Bernachon) inspired him to begin serious study and experimentation with chocolate and chocolate making
- Patric Chocolate Founded
- Cacao-sourcing trips to Tabasco State, Mexico, Belize, and Venezuela
- First bar released: Madagascar 70% (two ingredients)
- Return to Belize
- Praise from: Gourmet Magazine, The New Yorker, The LA Times, and David Lebovitz.
- Craft Chocolate Makers of America (CCMA) founded; Alan McClure of Patric Chocolate elected chair.
- Food & Wine Magazine takes note
- First export to Europe (Stockholm, Sweden)
- First Good Food Award win
- Forbes takes note
- Another Good Food Award (2 total)
- Boston Globe takes note
- Three more Good Food Awards (5 total)
- International Chocolate Awards
- NW Chocolate Awards
- Three more Good Food Awards (8 total)
- Four more Good Food Awards (12 total; and one of only two companies to win 5 years straight)
- Alan begins PhD in food science
- NY Times and Bon Appetit take note
- Three more Good Food Awards (15 total)
- Seth Godin takes note
- Two more Good Food Awards (17 total)
- Alan transitions to the doctoral program in food science at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
- Zagat takes note.
- Four more Good Food Awards (21 total)
- America’s Test Kitchen remarks on science & taste
- Sierra Club hails craft chocolate
- Two more Good Food Awards (23 total)
- Three more Good Food Awards (26 total, a national record across all categories)
- Good Housekeeping takes note
- Alan graduates with a PhD in Food Science with a chemistry minor and a 4.0 gpa
- Covid life begins
- Patric Chocolate transitions from craft-chocolate manufacturing to food-science consulting, and…
- Patric Food & Beverage Development is born
More praise from worthy critics
- COMO Magazine
- Cool Hunting
- Afar Magazine
- Chicago Tribune
- Sauce Magazine
- Modern Farmer
- Chocolate Class
- Bean to Bar
- Paddock Post
- QZ Magazine
- Hogarth Chocolate
- Flavors of Cacao
- Edible San Francisco
- Feast Magazine
- Afar Magazine again
- Unwrapped Podcast interview
- Chocolate Connoisseur Magazine
- All Good Food Awards
Kind words from admirers:
“[Alan McClure] has won an award every year…ten years in a row. A record-breaking 26 Good Food Awards and 350,000 chocolate bars; that’s a lot of happy people.”
Sam MogannamMaster of Ceremonies, Entrepreneur
Good Food Awards & Bi-Rite
“In a blind tasting of 14 bean-to-bar chocolates made in the US, these were [among] the most impressive…[Dr. Alan’s chocolate] melts into sliding softness. Berries and honey are at the core, but delicate violet and lavender notes set this one apart.”
Pete WellsFood Editor
The New York Times
“When Alan puts his mind to something, he will accomplish it. He’s methodical and thorough in his approach to solving problems; every nuance that may affect the outcome will be considered, yielding a near-perfect solution.”