'chocolatiers' on Serious Eats

Meet a Chocolatier: Gail Ambrosius in Madison, Wisconsin

Gail Ambrosius seems to have it all figured out. She turned a tough situation (getting laid off after ten years at the same job) into a glorious opportunity by doing what so many of us chocolate geeks long to do: head to Paris and study under the masters. With technique and experience under her belt, she launched Gail Ambrosius Chocolates in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2004 and has since been garnering praise for her wide range of offerings and unusual bonbon flavors—shiitake mushroom truffle, anyone? More

Interview with a Chocolatier: Christopher Michael in Costa Mesa, CA

I first met Christopher Michael at the 2008 Chocolate Show. His chocolates were gorgeous, of course; and his parents were there helping run the booth, which I loved—but what really caught my eye was the fact that he was based in Newport Beach. "Newport Beach?" I thought. "But...there are no chocolatiers in Orange County...?" Well, Chris changed that. Bringing a finely tuned chef's palate, artistic sensibility, and a touch of humor to his bonbons, he now has a storefront in Costa Mesa, California (my hometown), and is starting to change the tide. I chatted with him about his chocolate experimentation—rendered duck fat caramel, anyone? More

Three Amazing French Chocolatiers: Debauve & Gallais, Patrick Roger, and Jean-Paul Hévin

My globetrotting parents spent the past week and a half in Paris and were generous (read: willing to shut me up) enough to bring me back some treats from a couple of the roughly 17 stores I recommended they visit. Now I'm not going to offer superlatives, or start ranking chocolatiers by country in any way, but what the French do with chocolate is transcendent. This is what I got to experience from Debauve & Gallais, Patrick Roger, and Jean-Paul Hevin. More

The Elements of Great Chocolate

Box of chocolates from Bouchon Bakery in New York City. Photograph taken by Robyn Lee. What makes a great chocolate great? Taste? Texture? Aroma? Snap? Marketing? Beans? Fermentation? Roasting? Something else? All of the above? Identifying great chocolate is... More

Vancouver's Chocolate Landscape

The staff at the Vancouver Four Seasons have been known stock VIP suites with chocolate-coated vanilla and smoked Hawaiian sea salt caramels and Earl Grey and blue cornflower bon bons from favorite local chocolatier Thomas Haas (the hotel's former pastry... More

What Flavor Is Your Heart?

Cosmic Chocolate's Carly Baumann knows how to groove with the best of them. Her lips—and her chocolates—are always sparkling, and her candymaking goal, in her own words, is to "create luscious bites of elation and share with you our feelings of desire, expectancy, and satisfaction." So, no, Baumann didn't just pour melted chocolate into heart-shape molds, pop them out, and tie them up with red ribbons this Valentine's Day. Instead, she developed the Cosmic Bliss Heart Collection, whose flavors—Espresso Cognac, Lemon Basil, Black Current Violet, "Gianduya," Peanut Butter Honey, Passion Fruit, Red Hot Cinnamon, Sea Salt Caramel, and Strawberry Champagne—anticipate the full range of libidinous urges. The entire nine-piece collection costs $20. And in case you want to experiment elsewhere,... More

See's Chocolates: Have You See-n the Light?

Growing up in New York our local boxed chocolate of choice was either Barton's or Barricini's. That was what my grandmother would have at her apartment in the Bronx. I don't know if either of them was any better than Whitman's or Russell Stover, but they were my grandmother's choice and she doted on me, so I loved those chocolates. When I moved out to Los Angeles for my senior year of high school I was crushed to find no boxed candy I recognized. There was See's right near our house, but out of loyalty to my grandmother's choices, I never went in. Fast forward almost 40 years later. A month ago I found myself searching for a reasonably priced... More

The Only Valentine's Day Chocolate Guide You'll Ever Need

Chocolate malt balls from Jacques Torres Valentine's Day is fast approaching and you've got to deliver the goods. You cannot go wrong ordering from any chocolatier I mention below—each one on my list represents fair value when it comes to chocolate. Good chocolate is made with high-quality expensive ingredients by people with know-how and experience. When it comes to chocolate, you don't always get what you pay for, but with these particular makers that is indeed the case. This isn't the first time I have tried to come to your aid chocolatewise. Holiday time in 2006 I tried to get people to give chocolate every day of the 12 days of Christmas by renaming the holiday Chocomas—alas, nobody embraced this... More

Trickle-Down Chocolate Trends

One of the fascinating things about the candy industry is that it's rather like fashion. The are the couture confectioners and the mass marketers. The coutures start the trends, create the flavor combinations, and drive the interest in the market by being daring, and, of course, the huge factories take what's up-and-coming and turn out the lowest-common-denominator versions. The difference, however, is that although people may be interested in trying new things, for the most part they eat the same thing they've eaten since childhood, the same things their grandparents may have eaten. If you look at the top ten candy bars, every one of them has been around for 40 years or more. I sat in on a session... More

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