One cow, one kind of choco­late

Cou­ple cus­tom­izes their cows’ diets to create spe­cialty sweets

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Les­lie Hutchi­son

GOSHEN — Down a gravel lane off Town Hill Road, the own­ers of Thorn­crest Farm & Milk House Choco­lates make a del­i­cacy that they say can’t be found any­where else.

They sell “choco­lates that are the only ones on earth that are made from a sin­gle cow’s,” milk, said co-owner Clint Thorn.

The morsels called “Day­dream’s Caramels,” for in­stance, are named for the only cow whose milk is used in the recipe. Just steps away, a cow named “Supreme” pro­vides milk for dark choco­late con­fec­tions.

On a busy day, less that a week be­fore Valen­tine’s Day, the choco­late shop started to fill up with cus­tomers, which hap­pens quickly. The store is only big enough to co­zily fit about eight peo­ple at a time.

Self-taught choco­latier Kim­berly Thorn, said, “It’s a busy time for us, but Easter and Christ­mas are as well.”

“I stood out­side in the rain to get Christ­mas choco­lates,” said Kathryn Anas­tanio, of Sims­bury. With the ar­rival of Fe­bru­ary, she was pick­ing up some of her fa­vorite choco­lates with her mother, who was vis­it­ing from Ge­or­gia.

Anas­tanio was de­lighted to find that the shop had caramels on hand.

“The caramels are al­ways sold out. This is the first time they’ve had any left.”

When her mother al­most placed the bag on the count-

er with their other items, Anas­tanio grabbed it.

“I made sure it wasn’t on the counter so some­one else wouldn’t get it.”

Kim­berly Thorn said her fa­vorite is a choco­late with Coin­treau, which is made from milk pro­duced by a cow named “Valor.”

“We take the cow’s nat­u­ral fla­vor,” and com­bine it with farm-grown berries, or co­coa nibs that are sourced from a num­ber of in­ter­na­tional sup­pli­ers, she said.

Pre­ci­sion is an in­her­ent part of mak­ing the habit­form­ing sweets. The Thorns grow two kinds of hay, and specif­i­cally feed one type of hay to cows whose milk is used to make dark choco­late. A dif­fer­ent va­ri­ety of hay is re­served for cows who pro­duce milk des­tined to be­come a dark choco­late truf­fle.

“Ev­ery cow’s milk smells and tastes” dis­tinct, said Clint Thorn. The herd is fed a grass-based diet which is pes­ti­cide and her­bi­cide free, he added.

Both of the Thorns grew up on farms, Kim­berly in Ban­tam and Clint in Goshen. They met at Wamogo High School as stu­dents.

The busi­ness is a way for the fam­ily to “com­bine our love for cows and farm­ing. I got the idea of cre­at­ing choco­late,” to pair the two in­ter­ests, Kim­berly Thorn said.

The path to the del­i­ca­cies made at Milk House Choco­lates started in Ire­land. When Kim­berly Thorn vis­ited a farm in County Kil­dare, she saw a man rid­ing a bike each day with pails of milk on his han­dle­bars, Clint Thorn said.

The op­por­tu­nity to learn more about milk cows and the art of choco­late-mak­ing, prompted the cou­ple to take a 14-coun­try tour to see first hand how to best pair the two.

She be­came a self-taught choco­latier, and her son, Lyn­don, is a mas­ter choco­latier. “We have a love of cre­at­ing ed­i­bles,” Kim­berly Thorn said.

“Fresh cream to but­ter to choco­late is the fo­cus of our fam­ily. Cows can give us sweet things,” she said. Clint Thorn and their son Gar­ret, su­per­vise the milk­ing and an­i­mal hus­bandry du­ties.

“The fresh­ness of the milk prod­ucts and the at­ten­tion to de­tail, are what bring me here,” said Aniela Sala­macha, of Cole­brook. “I’m a choco­late con­nois­seur. I think it should be a sta­ple food.”

On a mis­sion to buy Valen­tine’s Day choco­lates for his wife and daugh­ter, Tom Han­dler of Wood­bridge knew the pop­u­lar­ity of cer­tain choco­lates could mean the in­ven­tory was sold out.

“I called to make sure they had caramels, then I came up,” he said, about mak­ing an 80-mile roundtrip jour­ney.

The choco­late shop is usu­ally open Wed­nes­days to Sun­days. But, for Valen­tine’s Day shop­pers, they are open ev­ery day un­til Feb. 18.

Thorn­crest Farm & Milk House Choco­lates is lo­cated at 280 Town Hill Road, Goshen. The farm’s phone num­ber is 860-307-6244.

Les­lie Hutchi­son / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia /

Aniela Sala­macha, of Cole­brook chooses choco­lates for a cus­tom box of her fa­vorite fla­vors.

Kim­berly Thorn gath­ers choco­lates one-by one as cus­tomers call out their fa­vorite choices such as “Supreme’s Rasp­berry Dark,” and “Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon Truf­fle.”

Les­lie Hutchi­son / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia /

Tom Han­dler from Wood­bridge called ahead to make sure the choco­latier had not run out of caramels be­fore he drove 80 miles round trip.

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