You’ve heard of Bar Bianco, but now, here comes the Bianco Bar. The Bianco Bar Fundraiser is a collaboration between Ghost Ranch Executive Chef Rene Andrade, Noi Cacao owner Alex Olmos Axelson, and Chris Bianco of, well, the aforementioned Bar Bianco, Pane Bianco, Tratto, and Pizzeria Bianco. The proceeds for this bar go to the employees of those Bianco restaurants.
The chocolate bar itself is dark chocolate from Noi Cacao, salt from the Arizona-based See Salt Taste, Arizona pecans and dates, and chiltepin peppers from Andrade’s family ranch in Sonora, Mexico (which you can read all about in this installment of Sonoran Arcana). It is 100 percent vegan and gluten free, with a little bit of heat.
Before restaurant closures across Phoenix and the world, Axelson of the Phoenix-based Noi Cacao brought Bianco some chocolate samples after the two were introduced by Andrade. Bianco was interested in carrying a chocolate product in his restaurants, as many of his eateries sell items like Hayden Flour Mills flour, his own Bianco Dinapoli Tomatoes, and other forms of local merchandise.
“Then, the pandemic started,” says Olmos Axelson via email, “and we came up with the idea of making this bar to raise money.”
Bianco initially introduced the Bianco Bar via Instagram on March 20; it's been available for purchase at the restaurants since March 27.
Originally, this chocolate bar sold for $50.
“Chris then had this idea that it would be the most expensive chocolate bar ever, $50, to help the staff and those still working through this hard time,” Olmos Axelson says. “The idea Chris had, of selling each bar at $50 as a gesture of gratitude for donations, was to quickly put money in the pockets of his hard-working employees. Though they were selling, he understood that these are hard times, and recognized that many Phoenicians, and other supporters, wanted to do what they could to help, but maybe couldn’t afford to.”
Bianco Bars are now selling at $12 a pop, with proceeds still going toward employees. A virtual employee tip jar, as well as the bar, are available on the Bianco restaurants website.