FOR THE
                       Love             OF CHOCOLATE
                                               BY MICHELE MORRIS

                                                                                                      different chocolates before they found a source for organic chocolate

                                  ruffles, chocolate bark, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, pra-
                                  lines, chocolate almond toffee—whatever your craving,               that was up to their standards.
                                  nothing tingles the taste buds or soothes the soul quite like
                                                                                                      Moley believes making chocolate mirrors wine making in many ways.
                        chocolate. Fortunately, the Front Range is teeming with chocolatiers,
                                                                                                      “Ingredient number one is someone who is the tastemaker, someone
                        all striving to bring consumers the freshest and tastiest chocolate
                                                                                                      who has the skills to develop and retain flavor profiles. Number two
                        marvels. While some sell from small storefronts, others have landed
                                                                                                      is some sense of what makes a good flavor, and three is pure dedi-
                        their products into retailers like Whole Foods, and nearly all sell their
                                                                                                      cation to the task.”
                        products online.

                        Drawn to Chocolate                                                            A Chocolate Pioneer
                                                                                                      The first step to making chocolate confections or candies is to ac-
                        For some, chocolate making runs in the family. Others discovered their
                                                                                                      quire the base chocolate product, which is made from the cocoa
                        chocolate calling later in life. Regardless, a passion for chocolate is the
                                                                                                      bean. And while most Front Range chocolatiers source their
                        number one ingredient for success in this business. Johan and Han De-
                                                                                                      chocolate from large, global companies, one maverick is actually
                        vriese of Belvedere Chocolates are obsessed with chocolate. They
                                                                                                      making his own chocolate base from the bean.
                        launched Belvedere in 1998, left their corporate jobs a couple of years
                        later and now produce over 800 different chocolate confections.               Steve DeVries, of DeVries Chocolate, became a chocolate maker on a
                                                                                                      whim. In 1999 while in Costa Rica studying Spanish he bought
                        Myron Lewis, whose father Richard Lewis founded Lewis Fine
                                                                                                      some beans, brought them back to Colorado and began experi-
                        Candies in 1962, discovered that making chocolates offered him the
                                                                                                      menting. When he launched his business shortly thereafter, he was
                        creativity he needed and the chance to work with his hands. He
                                                                                                      the 12th largest chocolate maker in America—which also meant he
                        ditched his corporate job after only a few years, joined the world of
                                                                                                      was the smallest, showing just how few people actually make
                        fine chocolate-making in 1996 and hasn’t looked back.
                                                                                                      chocolate from the bean.
                        For Roberta Poirier of Roberta’s Chocolates, the colors and sheer
                                                                                                      After discovering that many of these larger chocolate producers
                        artistic beauty of chocolate candies drew her in. She jokes that she
                                                                                                      wouldn’t share knowledge about the industry, DeVries traveled to
                        began making chocolates commercially by accident 20 years ago—
                                                                                                      cacao-producing countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and
                        what started as a hobby quickly became a business when she realized
                                                                                                      Venezuela, met growers and developed strong relationships as well as
                        her chocolates were in demand. Over the years, her entire family has
                                                                                                      a unique business model that takes him to these countries during
                        been enlisted to help create, package and sell her products: 2,000 va-
                                                                                                      harvest to dry his beans to his own specifications. DeVries feels so
                        rieties of chocolates and growing.
                                                                                                      strongly about what he does that he started Craft Chocolate Makers
                                                                                                      of America—their mission: to “coordinate with each other on issues
                        Recipe for Success                                                            such as cocoa supply, chocolate quality and technical solutions. Most
                        While passion may lead many to making chocolates, quality ingre-              importantly, however, we have created the CCMA to promote and
                        dients sustain them, starting with the chocolate itself. Most of our          protect American craft chocolate making and craft chocolate for
                        chocolatiers source their chocolate from well-known global brands             future generations of enthusiasts.”
                        like Callebeaut, Merckens, Valrhona or Cocoa Barry. Many of these
                        mega chocolate makers have been in business for over 100 years, re-           Today DeVries produces two 80-pound batches of chocolate a week
                        sulting in reliable quality and distribution systems. But dig a little        in his Larimer Street factory—tiny, compared to the tons produced
                        deeper and you’ll discover the unwavering loyalty these chocolatiers          by the big guys. He sells his chocolate bars and cocoa nibs to both
                        have to their sources. Timothy Moley of Chocolove in Boulder feels            consumers and chocolatiers, both online and wholesale, and ac-
                        so strongly about his chocolate connection that he won’t even name            cording to DeVries, usually to the “chocolate fanatics.” He explains
                        his source publicly.                                                          that a number of elements impact the taste of chocolate, and it all
                                                                                                      starts with the bean. Genetics (criollo beans, originally from
                        Beyond quality chocolate you’ll discover that chocolatiers cite a wide        Venezuela, have less bitterness and more fruity flavors, for example,
                        range of other ingredients for success—freshness, for one. At Belvedere       than forastero beans that originated from the upper Amazon basin),
                        Chocolates, they make only small batches, weekly, using only the              terroir, the fermentation and drying process, the roasting technique,
                        freshest of ingredients—even though that creates a bit of chaos during        and the grind are all important to develop more flavors and less acid.
                        the holidays or near Valentine’s Day. In fact, freshness is a theme you’ll    And getting the best beans doesn’t come cheap—DeVries spends as
                        hear repeatedly. As Myron Lewis says, “It’s my job to educate people on       much as double the going world price to ensure he’s acquiring only
                        what high-quality, fresh chocolates should taste like.”                       the best.
Photo by Megan Newton

                        Chris Widlar, who started Concertos in Chocolate out of her
                        Boulder garage in 1999, believes all of her ingredients need to be the        Good for You, Or Just Tastes Good?
                        best, and sources her dairy products from local provider Robinson             Nobody touts the health benefits of eating chocolate more than Julie
                        Dairy. Rick Levine, co-owner of Seth Ellis Chocolatier in Boulder,            Pech, author of The Chocolate Therapist: A User’s Guide to the Ex-
                        makers of artisanal organic chocolates, says they had to taste over 30        traordinary Health Benefits of Chocolate. Pech’s book suggests using
                                                                                                      chocolate (pure dark chocolate, containing at least 50 percent cocoa

                                                                                                                              EDIBLE FRONT RANGE | WINTER 2009              55
     REAL BELGIAN CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM TOPPING                       solids and preferably without any gooey, chewy fillings) to treat a
                                                                    wide range of ailments, including allergies, cancer, depression, heart
                                                                    disease, osteoporosis, PMS, and stress. But while dark chocolate is
 Recipe by Johan and Han Devriese of Belvedere Chocolates
                                                                    generally credited with health benefits, Roberta’s Chocolates finds
       5 ounces (a generous ½ cup) dark chocolate, chopped          that 74 percent of their clients still prefer milk chocolate.
                       2 tablespoons water                          Chris Widla believes people eat chocolate merely because it’s deli-
                       2 tablespoons sugar                          cious…and maybe they justify eating a bit more because of pro-
                                                                    claimed health benefits. Perhaps Chocolove owner Timothy Moley
                        ¼ cup whole milk
                                                                    summed it up best: “People buy chocolate because they crave it, and
Put the chocolate and the water in a double boiler; heat and melt   chocolatiers speak to that craving by making a chocolate that satisfies
slowly while stirring constantly. Add the sugar and milk and keep   them. The research merely helps them feel better that chocolate isn’t
stirring until the milk and sugar are completely absorbed, but do   bad for them.”
not let the mixture come to a boil! Pour the warm chocolate
topping over your ice cream and enjoy. Makes about 2 servings.      Wondering yourself what to believe? Wait no more! Seek out the
                                                                    Front Range chocolatiers today and, if nothing else, you’re in for a
                                                                    real treat.

                                                                    Michele Morris, owner of Cooking with Michele™, has a passion for
            Recipe by Timothy Moley of Chocolove
                                                                    teaching about local and seasonal food. She provides personalized
Combine 1 cup water and 1 Chocolove chocolate bar (3.2 ounces),     culinary instruction for kids and adults.720-344-8173 or cooking-
chopped, in a small saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring.
Pour into espresso-size cups and serve with a spoon. Makes 1–2

       For the author’s Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut Crust,
                   go to
                                                                      Cacao—the cocoa plant that grows within the tropical belt
                                                                      from 20° north of the equator to 20° south of the equator

                                                                      Cocoa beans—the seeds inside the cacao tree pods used to
                                                                      produce chocolate by fermenting and drying, roasting and
                                                                      grinding the beans

                                                                      Nibs—the roasted cocoa beans after the shells are removed
                                                                      Chocolate liquor—the result of crushing the cocoa nibs and
                                                                      melting the cocoa butter

                                                                      Bittersweet chocolate—above 58 percent cocoa solids; con-
                                                                      tains sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa liquor and occasionally

                                                                      Dark chocolate (often used interchangeably with semi-sweet
                                                                      chocolate)—up to 58 percent cocoa solids; contains sugar,
                                                                      cocoa butter, cocoa liquor and usually vanilla

                                                                      Milk chocolate—1 percent to 45 percent cocoa solids; con-
                                                                      tains sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, milk or milk powder,

                                                                      White chocolate—technically a confection because it contains
                                                                      no cocoa liquor; made from sugar, cocoa butter, milk or milk
                                                                      powder, vanilla

                                                                      Labeling—percentage listed on most candy bars is the total
                                                                      percentage of all cocoa solids, which includes cocoa butter,
                                                                      and should not be confused with the true percentage of
                                                                      cocoa beans in the bar

0   Recipes 
Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut Crust
Recipe by Michele Morris
Tart Shell
1 stick butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup hazelnuts, dry-roasted, skin removed and finely ground
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 egg white, beaten
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten

Tart Shell: Combine butter and sugar in a mixer and beat on low until smooth. Add the eggs one
at a time, mixing on low until combined. Add ground hazelnuts and mix until incorporated, then
add flour a little at a time until combined.

Remove dough, divide in two, and shape into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least
one hour and up to 24 before using. Before rolling, remove 1 crust from refrigerate and bring to
room temperature for 20 minutes. Reserve remaining crust in the freezer for another use.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 13-inch circle. Transfer to an 11-inch tart
pan with a removable bottom, making sure to press dough into the fluted edges of the pan. Trim
excess dough and discard. Place crust in refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours (wrap in
plastic wrap if leaving more than 30 minutes).

Preheat oven to 350°. Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet, line crust with aluminum foil and pie
weights or dried beans. Bake for 30 minutes: remove beans and foil. Brush bottom of crust with
egg white. Return to oven and bake until the crust is just barely light golden brown, about 8 to 10
more minutes. Reduce oven to 325°.

Filling: Heat the cream and milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it just comes to a simmer.
Remove from the heat; add the chocolate, and stir until melted and smooth. Whisk in sugar and
salt until combined. Add the eggs, whisking to incorporate.

Pour filling into the pre-baked tart shell and bake until set and the surface is glossy, about 20
minutes. (Remove immediately if you see any cracks in the surface of the tart.) Cool completely
before cutting.
Makes 8 to 16 servings, depending on your sweet tooth.
Belvedere Chocolates                          Concertos in Chocolate                          Roberta’s Chocolates

Owners: Johan & Han Devriese                  Owner: Chris Widlar                             Owner: Roberta Poirier
Specializing in pralines and truffles         Specializing in handmade and decorated          Specializing in a wide variety of filled and
Available in full-service shops in Boulder,   fresh truffles                                  molded chocolates
Castle Rock, Denver and Glenwood Springs      Available at Whole Foods or online              Available in the retail store located at 4840
                                                                                              W. 29th Ave. in Denver and online (both             
                                                                                              retail and wholesale)
303-663-2364                                  303-447-1001                 
Chocolove                                     DeVries Chocolate

Owner: Timothy Moley                          Owner: Steve DeVries
                                                                                              Seth Ellis Chocolatier
Specializing in premium Belgian chocolate     Specializing in Costa Rican and La
bars with a wide variety of flavors           Domenica artisanal chocolate by the bar         Owners: Rick and Neil Levine and David Lurie
Available in Whole Foods, Target, Wild Oats   and nib products                                Specializing in artisanal chocolates made
or World Market, through online retailers     Available online                                from organic and natural ingredients
and directly from Chocolove                                                                   Available in Whole Foods, online at itsonly-
                                                                                    , and direct from Seth Ellis                                 303-296-1661
                                                                                              for wholesale orders
                                              Lewis Fine Candies                    

                                              Owner: Myron Lewis
                                              Specializing in pecan turtles and butter
                                                                                              The Chocolate Therapist / Chocolates by
                                              almond toffee
                                                                                              Mary Carol
                                              Available in their Chocolate Factory Store at
                                              6140 W. 38th Ave. in Wheat Ridge                Owner: Julie Pech
                                              and online                                      Specializing in a healthy chocolate gifts,
                                                                                              books about chocolate and more
                                              303-421-0726                                    Available in retail shop at 2560 W. Main St.
                                                              in Littleton or online

                                                                                              303 795-7913

                                                                                              Cacao tree pod and cocoa beans.
                                                                                              Photo by Megan Newton

                                                                                               EDIBLE FRONT RANGE | WINTER 2009               57

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