Madame Chocolat’s Blog:
My Beloved Chocophiles,
Last weekend, PL&C went to San Francisco and Giftress Heidi and I attended the 2011 Winter Fancy Foods Show at the downtown Moscone Center. It was a fantastic food-frenzied hoot, indeed! As we seriously investigated market trends, we also sourced out some fabulous gift chocolate products. We cannot wait for you to see them! I won’t say any more because I don’t want to spoil any surprises! Be assured, we found some cutting edge chocolate goodies you won’t see anywhere else!
We got to see our very own Justin Gold of Justin’s Nut Butter. He was such a rock star! I beamed some serious Boulder pride as I passed his booth! With his long dark hair and beard in a snappy chef’s coat, he was adorbs as he pitched his new peanut butter cup line in both milk and dark chocolate – with the coupon in the tray for a discount on your next purchase. Justin Gold – Boulder’s very own all-natural-organic-nut-butter prophet… Yea, Justin!
One of the highlights of the show was a 10-ft painting of Davinci’s Mona Lisa and Van Gogh’s Starry Night made entirely out of Jelly-Bellies! This sweet art was created by artist Kristen Cummings and both were wondrous jelly bean mosaic masterpieces made from over 15,000 beans each! Wow! I know what you are thinking – not chocolate related, but wowzers none-the-less! However, I should note that Jelly Belly is debuting their new Dips line that include several of their classic flavors dipped in chocolate – cherry, raspberry, strawberry, coconut, and orange. I think we should all put a special request into Powell’s Sweet Shop if you don’t see them by V-Day.
On the Saturday evening before the FFS, Heidi and I found ourselves hob-nobbing with some of my chocolate mentors and heroes. We attended the Fine Chocolate Industry Association’s gala event to honor some of the best in our industry. I had to pinch myself as I stood along side Chef Fran Bigelow (Fran’s – Seattle, WA),
Chef Julian Rose (Moonstruck Chocolate – Portland, OR) Chef Michael Recchiuti (Recchiuti Confections – San Francisco, CA)
and esteemed chocolate bean-to-bar maker, Art Pollard (Amano Artisan Chocolate – Orem, UT) among many, many others! Our very own Steven DeVries was unable to attend and sorely missed. It was nice to hear all the wonderful things my colleagues were saying about Mr. DeVries as he is truly recognized as a pioneer in domestic artisan bean-to-bar chocolate making.
We also met a very charming fellow Colorado chocolatier, Chef Chris Farrow. He and his wife Darcie own The Art of Chocolate in Monument, CO… can you say, “field trip!” Check out their web-site and blog – beautiful! One of their tag-lines is, “Life is too short to eat crappy chocolate.” – isn’t that the truth?!?http://www.artofchocolate.com/index.php
However, the most cherished moments of our trip were spent having a beautiful dinner sharing delightful and insightful conversation with Chef Maya Schoop-Rutten, owner of Chocolate Maya of Santa Barbara. Maya is a passionate and mezmerizing chocolatier not only devoted to her craft, but also the culture of cacao itself. We discussed all sorts of industry issues from Fair Trade and organic chocolates to the true existence of real “wild cacao” and everything in-between including running a small business and balancing a family. She hinted at a possible trip together to a cocoa plantation in Venezuela this summer! What a chocolate wonder woman and a valuable resource. I felt as if I have not only met a business colleague, but have found a kindred chocolate soul and friend. If you ever find yourself in Santa Barbara, please visit her shop at 15 West Gutierrez Street. Be prepared, you will be swept away by her intoxicating fervor!http://www.chocolatemaya.com/
I have blathered on enough for this week in chocolate…
Thanks for letting me share, my friends!