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Watsonville couple produces 'the espresso of hot chocolate'

Posted: Wednesday, Jan 9th, 2013

Harwell Hot Chocolate is produced by a Watsonville couple. (Photo by Roseann Hernandez/Register-Pajaronian).

(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of stories
highlighting the many products and services that are made in

WATSONVILLE — In an unassuming house in the middle of a residential street, an apothecary of the kitchen is hard at work, preparing a delectable concoction that any chocoholic would be happy to sip.

Karen Maxwell, the creator of Harwell Hot Chocolate, is putting the final touches to two espresso-sized cups filled to the brim with the European-style hot chocolate.

The new brand is available in milk chocolate and dark chocolate, with a white chocolate variety coming soon.

A lifelong inventor, Maxwell has over the years put her hand to making an assortment of useful products from soaps to silver embellished vases, but it is her latest creation, Harwell Hot Chocolate, that has both she and husband, Gene Harding so excited.

“This is not your Swiss Miss that you’ll find at the supermarket,” said Harding.

Using high-quality ingredients — the dark chocolate variety uses 70 percent cacao — Harwell Hot Chocolate is meant for sipping, not guzzling.

“We use cocoa mass, which has all the natural butter fats still in it and coconut — which gives it its thick creaminess,” Harding said.

Coconut milk formed the basis of an all-liquid hot chocolate that Maxwell regaled friends with over the years before the couple decided to turn their product into a business when Harding received a cancer diagnosis.

After undergoing major surgery three years ago, Maxwell said the new business project helped Harding direct his focus away from his illness.

For the complete article see the 01-10-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-10-2013 paper.

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