Harper Macaw: Meet D.C.’s Very Own Chocolate Factory

A good bar of chocolate should be complex. It should have layers of flavors like bark, cloves, coffee and fruit. It should have a nutty taste and deep undertones. The bar should also be both bitter and sweet, but not too sweet that the whole bar is eaten in one sitting.

This complexity of chocolate has always fascinated Sarah Hartman. A foodie by nature, she knew she wanted to work in the food industry. While living in her home country of Brazil in 2010, she quit her job in human resources and attended culinary school to pursue her dream. While in school, she worked in several restaurant kitchens, but soon learned she “hated restaurants, but loved food.”

She quit culinary school and began to research different gourmet and artisanal foods like cheese, wine and beer.

“But nothing caught my attention quite like chocolate did,” said Hartman, a lifelong chocolate fanatic. “Even in culinary school, I wanted to be doing something with chocolate.”

Tucked into a far corner of Northwest Washington near Maryland, is D.C.’s very own chocolate factory, Harper Macaw, started by Hartman and her husband. You won’t find orange-tinted men or foil-wrapped bars loaded with sugar. But in the converted newspaper distribution center, you will find a small showroom, an assembly line, kitchen space and artisanal chocolates.

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