Bringing bean-to-bar chocolate
manufacturing to the Outer Cape
HOW IT ALL STARTED
The founding of Cape Cod Craft Chocolate
Katherine Reed and Josiah Mayo launched Chequessett Chocolate in 2014 after a fateful trip to Costa Rica. The pair encountered rustic chocolate making executed on an open air patio with a basic set of equipment and the simplest of ingredients. Inspired by this experience, Katherine and Josiah filled their backpacks with cacao beans, boarded the plane back to New England, and set off on a chocolate-making journey. Back in Wellfleet near Chequessett Neck, Katherine and Josiah bought their first chocolate-making machine and began experimenting with processes and recipes.
Despite lacking formal chocolate training, their strong backgrounds in science and culinary arts—coupled with a passion for honestly produced food—drove them to create what would become an award-winning chocolate company. Katherine, a trained chef with expertise in anthropology and climate science, applies her culinary knowledge and passion for sustainability to the project. A Cape Cod native from a long line of captains and fisherman, Josiah has traveled extensively throughout Latin American and brings a broad experience of cacao culture in its many varied forms to the operation.
They opened their chocolate factory at 8 Highland Road in North Truro in 2014, launching Chequessett Chocolate as a café and gift shop and meeting place for locals and tourists alike. Katherine and Josiah sell their bean-to-bar chocolate bars out of this location, and they also offer a rotating collection of unique confections available exclusively at the store. Since opening, the café has served George Howell specialty coffee exclusively and they are proud to partner with a coffee roaster who shares their supply chain values.
The cacao we use may come from distant tropical countries, but Chequessett Chocolate is loyal to our roots on Cape Cod. Chequessett Chocolate began on the Outer Cape in 2014 after Katherine and Josiah connected over a shared love of foraged food.
Long before 2014, however, Josiah’s family was rooted in a tradition of nourishing the community and conserving the land and ocean. Josiah grew up in Provincetown; his family, the Mayos, have resided there since the 17th century. His grandfather, Charles Mayo Jr., was renowned for developing the modern giant Bluefin tuna sport fishing industry.
Inspired by his upbringing on schooners and tuna boats, Dr. Charles “Stormy” Mayo, Josiah’s father, founded the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies and has devoted his career to the preservation of the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whales.
In addition to his work at Chequessett Chocolate, Josiah carries on the Mayo legacy as a commercial fisherman, alongside recently famous lobster diver Captain Michael Packard who escaped the jaws of a Humpback Whale. This history of engagement with and stewardship of the coastal environment both on and off-shore contextualizes our work in nourishing the community with transparently sourced food.
Katherine, an Oregon native, migrated East for college. After studying the anthropological implications of sea-level rise on coastal communities, she began a career in climate studies in conjunction with attending culinary school. Cooking became a medium to explore numerous areas of interests, from genetics, physics, and engineering to anthropology, sociology, history, economics, labor equity, and social justice.
We approach chocolate-making with this same mindset, constantly searching for opportunities to learn more about what we do.