One cow, one kind of chocolate
Couple customizes their cows’ diets to create specialty sweets
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.
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.”
Tom Handler from Woodbridge called ahead to make sure the chocolatier had not run out of caramels before he drove 80 miles round trip.