"Needless to say," says David, "we're actively looking for a warehouse." At the moment, the couple -- they do not yet have other employees -- makes about 60 bars a day. Not bad, considering that Corey has an e-commerce day job, and that, before she had what might best be described as a chocolate epiphany, David spent 17 years as a graphic designer.
Jigsawed along the Menkes' washer and dryer is a winnowing machine, designed by Santa Barbara chocolatier Michael Orlando of Twenty-Four Blackbirds Chocolate, which looks kind of like a MacGuyvered dryer instead of a crucial part of the chocolate-making process. In the kitchen, where neither David nor Corey has cooked anything for about two years, there's no real food, but containers of cocoa nibs. One bedroom functions as a wrapping room.
As a graphics designer, David's next idea was not to make chocolate, but to make a documentary on cacao production. While he was discussing the project with Juan Bronson, a colleague and friend, Bronson told David that he'd quit the business — to take over his father's cacao plantation in Guatemala. Kismet, maybe. Bronson's farm is Izabal Agro Forest, a hardwood and cacao farm in Guatemala's Lake Izabal basin, and it's the origin not only for much of LetterPress' chocolates, but LetterPress itself. "I liked the idea of getting involved at the very beginning," says David.
Because taking pictures of food is almost as much fun as eating it, on Instagram @latimesfood.