Monday, September 17, 2012

My Motivations

In an effort to catch up, I'll post 2 again today, but then slow down soon.  This one addresses questions Tom has been feeding me.

Some of you might be wondering how all this came about.  First, my Uncle Pete knows people who know people and that helped me make the connection to Chris.  Second, it helps that they need an extra body right now as they are ramping up for a new flavor release (not sure I'm allowed to say when).  Finally, it really helps that Chris is really nice and was willing to let me do this adventure. 

As for why I wanted to do this, I will give you a short chocolate history.  I have always had a sweet tooth, but even as a youngster I had a special spot for dark chocolate.  Maybe because my mom had one and so a piece of Hersey’s Special Dark was a special treat.  When I was a teenager we went to San Francisco and visited the Ghirardelli chocolate factory.  This was back when you could not get these chocolates in every grocery store.  I think this was my first chocolate with no corn syrup in it and I was hooked.  Not long after this I was introduced to European chocolates and learned that the dark chocolate marzipan Ritter Sport was my new favorite.  Over time, I realized that I really love plain dark chocolate and if I’m going to use calories (I don’t have so many to spare anymore), I want to use them on that. 

While living in Minnesota (so about 8 years ago now), I decided I wanted to try to make my own truffles and really start exploring the physical chemistry side of cooking.  I went shopping for books to help me and found lots and lots of books, but only one, at the time, that seemed to discuss the chemistry of the process as well as the love in a way that I thought would work for me.  I have made some good truffles and some mediocre ones --- but only one or two batches have had the flavor and texture that I really hoped for.   Of course more practice will help, but I also felt like there was a lot more to learn.

During this time my uncle who introduced us first to Ghirardelli, then Scharfenberger, brought Christopher Elbow chocolates for all of us at Christmas.  My desire to learn and my uncle’s connections to these amazing chocolates made it seem like there might be an opportunity for me to learn from a master.  So here I am. 

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