You’ve heard about the cows who produce chocolate milk, right? Well, how about the cows who produce some of the finest hand-crafted, farm-fresh chocolates?
This is no joke!
The small herd at Thorncrest Farm in Goshen, Connecticut has a little help on the chocolate production side, but their rich milk and cream are what makes the Thorn family’s Milk House Chocolates so incredibly special.
Over the last three decades, Kimberly and Clint and their two grown sons, Lyndon and Garret, have meticulously bred and cared for their herd of about two dozen Holsteins and a few Jerseys. “Contented cows give sweet milk,” says Kimberly. “Caring for cows is an honor and something we take to heart.”
Clint and Lyndon also run their own furniture and sculpture business, while Garret focuses on the farm. Kimberly can be found frequently in the creamery. She is the resident confectionary magician, using the farm’s milk, cream and butter to create exquisite caramels, enrobed nuts and fruits, bars and barks, and truffles with all-natural flavorings like farm-grown mint or raspberries, even French champagne!
But Kimberly would be the first to say she couldn’t do it without the cows. Milk House Chocolates takes the farm-to-chocolate approach to a level we think might be unprecedented. Each cow is treated as an individual on this small farm and the individuality comes through in their milk. The farmer-chocolatier knows each of her cows and their milk so well that she even crafts custom delicacies to highlight the milk of specific cows.
Signature cabernet sauvignon dark chocolate truffles are made with the milk of Karissma, a big black matriarch of the herd who is well known to farm visitors. Kimberly explains that her ultra-smooth, naturally sweet cream blends perfectly with the velvety fruit of a Napa Valley cabernet. The truffle is then hand-dipped in dark chocolate and dusted with the finest cocoa powder.
Daydream, a Jersey, produces milk that Kimberly describes as “buttery, honey, creamy caramel.” She is descended from a line of cows with similar milk profiles whose names all included the word “dream.” The dream line of milk is featured in a variety of caramels, some enrobed in chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt.
The idea for farm-fresh chocolates came to Kimberly when she was working on a horse farm in Ireland and noticed an older gentleman regularly cycling by with milk totes headed to a small café and confectionary. When her then-boyfriend, Clint, came to visit, the two resolved to combine farming and food production and proceeded to eat their way through Europe doing research. “We came upon our first small artisan chocolate shop in France,” Kimberly recalls, “and it just clicked.”
Thanks to Kimberly’s vision and the family’s commitment to their farm, chocolate-lovers from all over the country can order these very special edible works of art for their own family, friends and sweethearts.
“I’m really thrilled that the younger generation sees the value in farming and caring for the cows. It is a wonderful, beautiful, satisfying thing to do, a very honorable way to spend a life,” says Kimberly. “Personally, I think they just like eating the chocolates,” she adds with a chuckle.
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