We've reached an exciting milestone: my chocolate is set to debut tonight on the menu at Black Trumpet in Portsmouth, New Hampshire! Chef Evan Mallett and pastry chef Stephanie Deihl have been getting creative with my Guatemala 70% and my Vietnam nibs, and both chocolate and nibs will make their appearance in a few forms on the new menu. I'm over the moon excited to head over and try the finished dishes!
Guatemala / Chimel B / batch 001
A little back-story... I am also a photographer, and last year I was invited to create the photographic art for a book written by Evan Mallett, chef-owner of Black Trumpet. This was an incredible honor and an amazingly fun project. Mallett is a highly regarded James Beard semifinalist, known as much for his creativity in the kitchen as for his mentoring and collaborative work with other chefs, farmers, and creative thinkers. His book - coming at the end of this summer - will be a beast of a tome, covering over 10 years of his professional career, and food spanning 8 seasons ('8 seasons' you ask? you'll just have to read the book). It contains dozens upon dozens of recipes and stories illustrating Evan's philosophy about food... embellished with lots and lots of photographs by yours truly.
What Evan did not realize at the time was that I was already working on my chocolate-making. That is, making chocolate from scratch, from the bean. So when Evan invited me to be his photographer, he was essentially also signing on to become my most trusted tasting panelist. I use the phrase 'most trusted' because a) he has an incredibly sensitive palate, and b) when I brought my first sample to him he blurted out, "I don't really like chocolate". He is able to articulate the weird and unique flavors that can happen in small-batch chocolate making, and I know that I can always trust him to tell me the truth. (I have since discovered that Evan probably does not dislike chocolate, he is just very picky).
The making of chocolate is arduous and at times frustrating, but the enigma and delight that cacao offers has won my heart. Words cannot really express how excited I am to begin sharing my chocolate with the public.
We're starting very small: at the moment my chocolate is only available on the Black Trumpet menu. We have other exciting things in the works, and will have bars available for purchase very soon, so stay tuned!
Update: the book is now available for pre-order on Amazon! And yes, that's my name below the author's name on the cover. :)