Apronomics: Cam Loyet of Honeymoon Chocolates

Is there any food more romantic than chocolate? Well, Cam and Haley Loyet definitely built Honeymoon Chocolates as a labor of love. As undergrads, the couple spent their time in a dorm kitchen creating craft chocolate—from nib to bar. From those DIY date nights they established a business, opening their first storefront and factory at the start of 2022.

Cam grew up across the river in Highland, Illinois. His family focused on healthy eating, so he never expected a candy-centered career. However, he discovered an interest in dark chocolate because of its health benefits. “It was a way for me to indulge in and enjoy something sweet,” he notes. While studying business at Illinois Wesleyan, he met Haley, who was an avid cook and baker. “She saw the world through a different culinary lens,” he says. “Sweets were one of her ways of communicating that she cared.” Haley’s favorite food was chocolate, so he bought her cocoa nibs to experiment with.

Eventually, Cam brought his idea of creating a business out of craft bean-to-bar chocolate to a professor and secured a fellowship. The couple used honey to sweeten their chocolate for a few reasons. “We wanted to create something that wasn’t already in production, and our goal also was to address the decreasing supply of cacao and decline of honeybees worldwide,” he notes. “By using honey, we support local producers and can offer more transparency about where our ingredients come from. It also provides our customers with a healthier alternative to things sweetened with refined sugar.”

The Loyets finalized their recipe in 2016, but Honeymoon Chocolates was temporarily put on hold because of their move to St. Louis where Haley entered medical school and Cam took a job as an accountant. However, he enrolled in a masters program at Washington University and began pursuing the chocolate business again. “I spent two years learning the ropes about the manufacturing process,” he says. “I really had no idea what it would be like, but I had a business plan. After I graduated, I focused on Honeymoon full time, and we were able to open our factory in January this year.”

Honeymoon Chocolates’ new production space in Clayton also features a storefront. But with no firsthand experience opening a brick-and-mortar business, Cam admits the process wasn’t what he expected. “There is so much red tape you have to cut through,” he says. “Thankfully, we had help from people who had been through the process before. We originally assumed we’d be open in a month or two, but that wasn’t the cause. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to turn the lights on. It was a challenging experience, but it was worth it.”

To source its ingredients, Honeymoon chocolates uses Uncommon Cacao, which works directly with more than 5,000 smallholder farmers across 12 countries. Cacao production is in decline because smaller farmers are being forced to switch to higher profit crops. Uncommon Cacao is working to combat this by paying farmers more and offering more transparency in its trade. “It’s really liberating for us,” Cam says. “Not only are we not dealing with crazy markups, we know that the people who are putting in the effort are getting paid the appropriate amount.”

Cam wants to further innovate Honeymoon’s production process by focusing on energy consumption, especially as the company grows. “My goal is to find a way to continue what we are doing but while using alternative sources of energy to craft our chocolate,” he says. “The last thing I want is for us to grow without that growth being sustainable. The name Honeymoon is one of passion, but also dedication. That’s how we reached this point. Chocolate is a great medium for having an in-depth conversation about food production that you might not normally have. We want to share our process and bring people an experience they can’t find anywhere else.”

Super Fudgy Salted Raspberry Brownie Cookies
8 oz. Honeymoon Dark Chocolate Raspberry bars, roughly chopped
1 c. all-purpose flour
¼ c. natural unsweetened or
dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ C. light brown sugar
¼ c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Honeymoon Dark Chocolate Raspberry bar, broken up into chunks for topping
Flaky sea salt, for topping

  1. Set aside a cookie sheet lined with parchment. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and kosher salt.
  2. In a small microwave safe bowl, add chopped chocolate. Microwave on high for 15 seconds and lightly stir. Repeat until fully melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter and sugars and whip until light and airy, about three minutes. Add eggs and vanilla extract and whip for an additional two minutes. Add melted chocolate and mix until just combined.
  4. In two parts, add dry ingredients to your butter mixture, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  5. Use a medium sized ice cream scoop to scoop your dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, spacing them six inches apart. Place a couple of chocolate chunks (raspberry side up) on each scoop. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  6. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes (cookies will be gooey in the middle, but will set up into a nice fudge when they cool), top with a pinch of flaky sea salt, and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Store in a covered airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!


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