Alan McClure started his chocolate company, Patric, after spending a year in France (Lyon and Beaujolais) formally studying politics and language, while informally studying food - especially chocolate. After returning to the U.S., he missed the chocolate he had come to love in France, and started looking into whether it would be possible to make it as a hobby.
McClure threw himself into a good deal of research and experimentation with different machinery, a couple of years of buying and tasting as much premium chocolate as he could find, experimenting with roasting and conching, studying the science of flavor formation in chocolate and bouncing ideas off of others who were more knowledgeable. Afterwards, he decided to start a bean-to-bar chocolate company - making chocolate from scratch starting with the cocoa beans - in the spring of 2006.
“I realized that the knowledge I had gained went far beyond hobby,” says McClure
Since then, his business has gone from a one-man show with one bar offering to a slightly larger company with eight bars available, and the equivalent of about three to four full-time employees. Much of what he produces is single-origin dark chocolate, but he also makes dark chocolate blends, a dark milk chocolate and a couple of inclusion bars.
“The goal in every case is to play off of complex, interesting and delicious cacao flavors,” says McClure
In the meantime, the company has been written up by Gourmet Magazine, the LA Times and the New Yorker Online. Also, Food & Wine has written about Patric twice, including a recent 2010 mention calling Patric a "Best New American Chocolate." On Jan. 14, 2011, they won a Good Food Award for their In-NIB-itable Bar.
“I am very excited as Patric moves forward,” says McClure. “Our U.S. distribution continues to expand, as does the distribution of Patric abroad. Some of our best customers are in Sweden, in fact.”
McClure has also been active within the industry, particularly with the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA). He is also a founding member of the Craft Chocolate Makers of America (CCMA).
What did you think you would be when you grew up?
Name one or some of your favorite movies.
Describe your perfect dream vacation.
Month-long all expenses paid trip to France and then Italy-the food!
What book are you currently reading?
“Down and Out in Paris and London” by George Orwell
Aside from a family member, whom would you most want to be stranded with on a deserted island? My dog.
What's your pet peeve?
I'd give anything to meet:
The best piece of advice that I've gotten:
What excites you most about your job?
Creation! (For example, the research and development of new products).