The North Texas Health Insurance President Who Became a Hill Country Chocolatier

If you were lucky enough to get on the Dr. Christmas chocolate list. Dan McCoy a few decades ago, you already knew that the former president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas knew his way around cocoa beans, but his latest effort as an owner. of Hill Country Chocolate and sister company DKM Cellars has taken his passion to the next level.

McCoy is a man of many talents. Before moving to the C-suite at Blue Cross, he was a dermatologist. During his time as an insurance executive, iD CEO magazine wrote about his love of photography, capturing the daily life of his travels. At the time, we didn’t know that McCoy had filled his guest house with chocolate making supplies, experimenting with flavors and textures and making hundreds of chocolates to send to friends each year for the holidays.

He had emailed and called chocolate experts for years, learning about molds and cacao beans to get the perfect flavor. “It’s a crazy combination of science and creativity,” he says. “It appealed to my brain, so I started making things, and I took a few classes here and there, and I got a lot of advice from people.”

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After leaving Blue Cross in 2020, he began consulting for health care but quickly grew tired of being limited to zoom calls all day. Years ago, he had bought a house in Fredericksburg and started toying with the idea of ​​taking his chocolate talents to the Hill Country. And he comes with some education. After deciding he was watching too much Netflix a few years ago, he enrolled in two certificate courses in viticulture and Texas winemaking from the department of plant and soil science at Texas Tech University, based in Fredericksburg. Graduated in 2020.

The dream became a reality when she created Hill Country Chocolate, a store five minutes from Fredericksburg’s main drag, full of boutiques, restaurants, and countless bachelorette parties. The 4,000-square-foot store is a “bean-to-bar” chocolate factory that used to be a woodshop.

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McCoy insists on legally sourced beans and isn’t afraid to experiment. His ingredients run the gamut from artisanal bonbons to other creations using Okinawan black sugar, coffee, black pepper, and even orange ganache. There are also traditional combinations like almond butter toffee, pecan caramel, and peanut brittle.

He is also running DKM Cellars in the space, where he has partnered with winemakers around the world and has started his own vineyard (not producing grapes yet). Central Coast California Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc, Tuscan red wine, and Moscato di Asti from Piedmont are already on the menu.

A photo
Photo by: Shelby Tsika Marquardt

The store has a tasting room that McCoy describes as a speakeasy vibe that pairs wine and chocolate during a 90-minute tasting session that includes a chocolate-covered charcuterie board. “People have always had a natural love between chocolate and wine,” McCoy said. “When people come here, we start explaining all the synergies. Both plants are perennials, and both fruits are obtained from the plants in the same way. Both are fermented close to where they are harvested. There are many similarities between the products.”

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The chocolate factory opened in April, and opened to the public in May. Chocolate is sold at several wineries, and the organization also runs a wine club. The website launched this fall.

McCoy still maintains his consulting practice, where his company has many health care clients but is expanding into other industries. She specializes in storytelling and enjoys helping organizations craft their message and target audiences.

He uses those skills today, combining chocolate and wine with Hill Country Chocolate and DKM Cellars. “It’s not just romance; chemistry,” he says. “Both products were modified in the same way, and ended up with a unique ability to complement each other.”

The author

Will Maddox

Will is the managing editor of D CEO and editor of D CEO Healthcare. He wrote about health care…


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