Brian Frick’s lifelong passion for chocolate has spurred him on his quest to make the world’s finest bars. Aged 14 – and already a dedicated chocolate lover – Brian took his first steps in chocolate making. He boldly reached out to the finest restaurant he knew of and asked them for top tips for tempering and more. From this very first foray into chocolate making, Brian was hooked.
Within days he had bought the best moulds he could afford at the time and started to experiment with chocolate. He soon realised that in order to make fine confectionary, the very best ingredients were needed. After scouting around local suppliers, he eventually found a shop in suburban Portland that imported premium European chocolate. This opened Brian’s eyes to the possibility of making truly great chocolate, and by the age of 17 he had launched his first chocolate business, selling wholesale confections.
Brian took time out from chocolate making to focus on his studies, instead taking a part time job within the world of patisserie. It was during this time that he set his personal best record of rolling 600 croissants in an hour, and 10,000 macaron in a week. Although undoubtedly proud of his achievements in the arena of baked goods, Brian felt a deep need to travel the world. As part of a postgraduate degree, he studied in Scandinavia, before taking in North Africa, South East Asia, Australasia. He rowed the Indian Ocean lived alongside cacao farmers in Fiji for three months.
Upon his return to Portland, Brian felt a fresh energy, and a renewed passion for chocolate. He set about sourcing beans, researching machinery, and looking for factory space. It was on this quest to find a business premises that the name Pitch Dark – and its iconic street lamp logo – was coined. Brian and a friend were standing outside an old brick building in Portland one evening, waiting to meet a realtor. While they waited, they discussed potential names for the fledgling venture. It grew darker, and they found themselves standing beneath an ornate streetlamp, and hey presto – Pitch Dark was born!
Since Day 1, Brian has had a very clear goal for Pitch Dark. He wants to make the very best bar he can for the most approachable price possible. He wants to make bars that taste good enough to want to eat every day. In short, Brian is out to please – not shock – both pockets and palettes. This is clear from the very first taste of any of his wonderfully balanced bars. His Madagascan bar is fruity and has wonderful citrus notes, but isn’t as overpowering as some. The smooth smokiness of the Fiji complements the creaminess of the chocolate, rather than dominating it.
Over the past 12 months, Pitch Dark has seen huge expansion. That first factory has been replaced by a new facility, capable of producing even more delicious bars. But at the same time as he embarks on these ambitious plans, Brian is still mindful of the lessons he learned whilst living with cacao farmers in Fiji, all those years ago. He has always believed that his chocolate production should not only benefit the local community where it is made in Portland, but that it should also have a tangible impact on the cacao farmers who grow and harvest the beans. Indeed, Brian is the first American chocolate maker to make bars from Fijian cacao, importing his beans from the farmers he used to live alongside.
This commitment to delivery great chocolate in such a way that is truly sustainable from bean to bar is admirable. We wish Brian well on his quest, and we can’t wait to try even more fantastic chocolate from him over the coming months and years…