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Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Spring Flavors

What better day to reveal the first hints of spring flavors than on the coldest, muckiest, iciest day of the winter? I've been busy perfecting the new flavors, so I hope you'll take a few moments in the coming days and weeks and order a box of your own...

Hibiscus-Tamarind Cream: Let's just get started with a bang, shall we? Hibiscus isn't just a pretty flower, it's also a lovely, tangy flavor (usually brewed into tea). I've reduced this sweet-tart tea down to a syrup and blended it with tamarind puree (another tart, tangy treat) and just a hint of chile. I wrap it all up with a white chocolate shell. Not only is the Hibiscus Tamarind Cream light and refreshing, but it's quite pretty to behold...

Ginger Cherry Cordial: This is the chocolate covered cherry with a kick. I started with a tart morello cherry, infused it with fresh ginger syrup, and topped it all off with a black cherry fondant and a deep, dark chocolate shell...

Cherries and Saigon Cinnamon Truffle: Are you noticing a pattern here? It is almost Valentine's Day, and nothing says romance quite like sweet red berries. Dark chocolate ganache is kicked up with Saigon cinnamon (tastes like the little red cinnamon hearts) and black cherry juice...

more flavors tomorrow!

Monday, January 14, 2008

the flavor-making process

I've been holed up in the kitchen for the past week and a half, trying to come up with brilliant new flavors that will cement LØVE chocolate into your hearts and tastebuds forever. Last year, work circumstances prevented me from having a big Valentine's, and I'm hoping to reverse that this year.

Before I get to the big flavor reveal, I thought I'd get a little more in-depth with the process of creating a new flavor. There are a few necessary factors that must be considered - obviously, it needs to taste good, it should be either a classic combination or an innovative one, and it has to have the staying power to last about a month.

Let's start with taste. It's always been my intention to create flavors that are memorable. The first step on that path is good taste. As any good cook will tell you, the easiest way to make a memorable meal is start with high quality ingredients. For me, that means chocolate that revels in its cocoa-ness, the brightest, freshest fruits, and butter and cream from happy, local cows.

After the ingredients are covered, I have to consider the combinations. My main consideration has always been innovation, and unique pairings that work. I don't want an anchovy and lavender truffle... unless it's the most amazing thing you've ever put in your mouth (don't worry, it's not in the works). Instead of being weird just to be weird, I try to think of the flavors that I love, and translate them into chocolate. The easiest example of this is the LØVE Chocolate signature - sea salt caramel. Salty and sweet are satisfying at a primal level - the nuances of fine chocolate and buttery caramel just add to the pleasure.

It's not all about innovation and uniqueness, sometimes the most satisfying taste is the familiar one. When crafting a flavor that has its roots in tradition, it all comes back to the ingredients and the technique. Balancing the individual notes can elevate a classic combination - like chocolate and peanut butter - into something a little more sophisticated, a little more interesting.

The last factor is just as important as the first two. I believe that chocolate candies are the best moments after they're made, and it's my goal to put them in your hands as soon after that as I can. But maybe you have a modicum of self control and don't eat them all as soon as the postman drops them off (I have clients who do, and they may be my favorite people ever). You may also have purchased my chocolate from one of the local retailers who stock it (also on that favorite list). To that end, I'm always considering scientific things like water activity and pH as well as the more creative things. It's not necessary to get into a long explanation - perhaps another day. The easiest thing to remember is that less water = longer shelf life, and more acidic things tend to last longer, too.

All of this is just a big, teasing lead-up to the new flavors...which will be here tomorrow!

Monday, January 7, 2008

The News in Brief

It's been a busy time in the LØVE Chocolate kitchen. I'm coming up with lots of new flavors, and lots of lovely changes are in the works for the website. Perhaps most exciting to me is the completion of the new kitchen, which is very very close. There were some stumbling blocks along the way, but we've jumped those hurdles, and we're back on track. Expect a before and after photo montage very soon.

As for the new flavors, you'll see more of them starting tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A very good year.

Now is the time when thoughts turn to the future and the past. I've been thinking quite a bit about the events of the past year, and where I want to go in the future.

It's hard to believe that I've been in business for a full year, and that this company was just a few scribbles on a notepad only a year before that. In that time, I've made thousands of caramels, melted hundreds of kilos worth of chocolate, and folded about a million boxes*. The amount of work I've done can only be equalled by the amount of fun I've had. Nothing has been so rewarding as making all the decisions I've made, no matter how seemingly insignificant. This year, I learned to believe in myself more than ever before. I've seen what can come from hard work, dedication,and the support of friends and family. To everyone who has made my first year a success, I cannot thank you enough.

This year is going to bring a lot of exciting changes. A new website is coming soon, with lots of new pictures and flavors. Soon, you'll be able to find LØVE Chocolate in many more local shops, and you just might be eating it at the next wedding you attend. You can look forward to lots of photos, updates and new flavors in the weeks and months to come.

It's going to be a very good year.

*figures are all estimates based on emotions and fuzzy facts