Photos and text by Jane Bachrach
Mark Burrows is spending most of his time in the kitchen these days and it’s beginning to pay off. He quickly outgrew his kitchen at home (this page), and now practically lives in his commercial kitchen in Willits (right page) where he makes chocolate —and not just any chocolate. He crafts one-of-a-kind chocolates using cacao beans that are ethically sourced from farmers around the world.
As an eco-conscious chocolate lover, Burrows began to study the process of making chocolate several years ago, by reading, researching, taking classes and traveling to countries that grow and produce cacao beans. He is now a proud chocolate snob, finding Hershey’s and other commercial chocolates boring. This attitude, however, only increases his desire to create unique, irresistible chocolates using fine ingredients that tantalize the taste buds.
Burrows also loves bees, hence the name of his company: Pollinator Chocolates. Before he was making chocolate, Burrows was (and still is) keeping bees. “My two favorite things in life,” besides his kids, of course, “are bees and chocolate,” said Burrows.
A year ago, Pollinator Chocolates were only sold locally. But, due to his hard work and the positive buzz, Burrows now has customers in Denver and other parts of Colorado, as well as in other states around the country. When asked what his goal is, Burrows smiled and said, “I want to have a chocolate empire.”
When visitors enter the inner sanctum of Pollinator Chocolates, they’re greeted by the sweet aroma of chocolate and immediately transported into the magical, modern-day world of Willy Wonka. But, when Burrows swoops into the room and begins to buzz around his “hive,” you know that you’ve arrived at the chocolate factory.