Ingredients and Expectations...
Just recently I moved into a new home and had the opportunity to unpack a lot of things I'd had in storage for several years. One of the treasures I uncovered was a cookbook I had compiled many years ago, containing recipes from my entire family. Even just flipping through this collection of "Mom's Best" brought back memories. I decided right then and there to take a trip down memory lane and one by one, prepare each of the recipes over the next few months.
I started with my all time favourite: Mom's Lasagna. Homemade noodles. Salami. 3 different kinds of cheeses. Tomatoes three ways. Fresh spices. ....and NO spinach!!!! Blech! Spinach in lasagna is just plain wrong.
Sorry. I digress.
You may be asking yourself, "What the heck does this have to do with chocolate?". It has nothing to do with chocolate as a general topic. However it has EVERYTHING to do with my chocolate. You see, I grew up eating meals made with wholesome ingredients. My parents had a huge garden. My grandmother owned a farm, and had a MONSTER garden, a chicken coop, and pigs, etc. I KNOW what wholesome, homegrown food tastes like. I grew up on it, and I have to tell you there is absolutely NO substitute for the taste of a farm fresh egg for breakfast, along side a thick slab of home made bacon.
Sorry Charlotte. Wilbur took one for the team.
When the time came to open my own food business my decisions with respect to ingredients were predicated on a deep seated appreciation for the pure, REAL, taste of natural ingredients. The only way to be the best in the food business is to start with the best ingredients, and I have yet to find one that ends with "ate" or "ite". Real navel orange peels steeped into the cream. Fresh raspberries puree'd. Peppermint lovingly grown, cut, and dried every summer. Real hazelnut butter shipped from the west coast. If the truffle says Bailey's Irish Cream... well... guess what it uses? (the best part of making this recipe is never licking the spatula at the end. It's making one of my drinking chocolates 50/50 with Bailey's).
There are of course challenges that come with using fresh ingredients - the big one being no preservatives or stabilizers. Because of my adherence to the use of fresh ingredients there are many confections that I can't make, simply because they deteriorate too quickly without a preservative or stabilizer, or without using lower quality, more shelf stable ingredients.
If an occasion ever arises where you pause to think why I wouldn't or don't make something in particular here at Choklat, you can most likely trace the impetus of that decision to an ingredient (or the refusal to use one), and a philosophy of never giving you anything but the best that's available to me. In walking through the door of my shop, or opening the box that's just been delivered. Your expectation should be nothing less.
In sharing this with you, I wish to thank my late Mother and Grandmother for showing me what the best food really can taste like. It didn't always look the best, but it sure as hell tasted the best. After all, nobody eats the box.
Posted by Brad Churchill
Brad Churchill is the owner and creator of all things "Choklatey". With over 30 years of business experience, 11 years of chocolate experience and many thousands of hours of research behind him, Brad Churchill brings to the table a very unique and pragmatic view of the emergent artisan chocolate industry. It is Mr. Churchill's hope that he can impart his experience upon budding chocolate entrepreneurs and help them balance their passion for this industry with the hard hitting reality and challenges of owning their own business. These articles are just the beginning....
Your article on wholesome ingredients really resonated with me. For years I have been encouraging my friends and family to eat better. It's good to see that someone is taking that initiative in the confectionary industry too!
First of all Brad, I LOVE this new site! Wow. I've always liked your truffles. The freshness definitely shines through. I have to admit though, I'm still partial to your bars. They are hands down the best chocolate bars I have ever eaten.
You should host some events relating to making chocolates and candy with natural ingredients. I attended your wine and chocolate pairing evening, and it was a hit. Oh... and I had a good laugh about the "Charlotte" comment! LOL