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September 4, 2018

Artisanal chocolate shop opens on Monhegan

Courtesy / La Nef Chocolate
Courtesy / La Nef Chocolate
Dylan and Mandy Metrano have launched La Nef Chocolate, an artisanal chocolate-making company, on Monhegan Island.

An artisanal chocolate-maker called La Nef Chocolate located on Monhegan Island produced its first chocolate bar in July and is already being sold in three island outlets.

Lincoln County News reported that Dylan and Mandy Metrano conceived of the idea last fall as a way to have year-round work. Dylan then completed a course through San Francisco's Ecole Chocolate. The couple opened a production facility in a space shared with Monhegan Coffee Roasters, another new business that launched this summer.

Next steps for La Nef Chocolate include wholesaling on the mainland.

According to the company's website, "Isle La Nef" was the name given to Monhegan in 1605 by Samuel de Champlain. The company is making hand-crafted chocolate bars, truffles and confections, like "Imperial Stout" truffles made with Monhegan Brewing Co. beer and "The Old Fashioned" truffles, made with Split Rock Distilling's bourbon and chocolate-covered candied ginger called "Sea Legs."

The Metranos are committed to biodegradable and recyclable packaging, and sourcing high-quality ingredients from local producers and distributors that deal in direct trade for fair treatment of farmers. The product is available at Monhegan's Barnacle Café, Monhegan Brewing and Monhegan Museum, and is expected to be made available via mail order by this October.

Diversifying Monhegan’s economy

Monhegan Island residents Carley Mayhew and Mott Feibusch started production at Monhegan Coffee Roasters in June. In July, Feibusch and Mayhew told Lincoln County News that starting a business on the island presented unique challenges, including the cost and supply of propane and the logistics of bringing supplies onto the island.

Monhegan, located 12 miles out to sea, is one of Maine's 15 year-round islands.

Coffee is not the only unusual business out there. Monhegan is also home to Monhegan Brewing Co., launched in 2013 by Matt and Mary Weber with assistance from Mary's father, Danny McGovern, who started Lake St. George Brewing Co. in the mid-1990s.

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