Archive for May, 2008

The Wonder of Chocolate

Posted in Uncategorized on May 27, 2008 by Brian

As I immerse myself in the world of chocolate, I’m amazed at what I’m learning. First and foremost, I have a lot to learn. The cookbook/textbook I’m reading now notes that chocolatiering is probably the most difficult of all culinary arts, and follows that up by stating that chocolate is probably the most challenging of all foodstuffs. Between these statements are essays on things like “The Polymorphism of Chocolate” and the process of “conching” chocolate, which refines the chocolate in a way that everyone expects but that no one truly understands.

But two things stand out about chocolate that have totally captivated me. First, that in order for cacao beans to become chocolate, they must first be fermented and roasted. Just doing one or the other won’t produce anything that resembles chocolate. Think about how any single person, let alone a whole planet full of them, could have figured that out.

The other amazing thing about chocolate is that –when it’s made properly — the melting point of chocolate is just below human body temperature. Which means that it stays solid at room temperature but melts in your mouth when you eat it. Isn’t that wonderful?



Posted in Uncategorized on May 22, 2008 by Brian

You know those people who work for 15-20 years, doing the same thing, and they eventually get tired of it and do something else? They do something totally different, unlike anything they’ve ever done professionally before. Something wacky.

This is one of those stories.

I was going along, doing well, and everything is peachy, when something in the back of my mind tells me that I need to make a change. Not just a new job, not just a new company, but a Big Change. I needed to do something totally different from what I was doing at the time.

And then there I was at a dinner party, talking to a friend who says that she’s selling her business. Her chocolate business. Her boutique artisan chocolate business, with truffles that cannot be described with words and ginger bark that’s heavenly and this amazing ganache that she made at another dinner party that didn’t turn out the way she wanted but made everyone else crazy because it was so yummy.

So I bought her business.

I love to cook. I especially love to cook for other people. (I made truffles once at home, a long time ago, in fact, although I’m not sure that’s relevant.) I’ve founded, managed and grown a small business, so I know what’s required. (One of my challenges there, which I hope to overcome here, is finding the difference between “working too hard” and “not working hard enough” — there’s always something that needs doing in a small business…) I also know how to market.

All I need to do, then, is learn how to make chocolate. Luckily, I have Heather, the former owner, who’s developed a beautiful curriculum for me. “Curriculum” sounds so scholastic, but who can take issue with 1.5 hours on how to make caramels?

In any case, here I go. I bought the business a couple of weeks ago, signed a lease on a space last night, and gave my notice this morning. June will be the beginning of my chocolating experience.