I’ve found myself in a reflective mood lately. Maybe because I’m spending more and more time staring down into a bowl of melted chocolate with the aroma of fresh roasted coffee beans. I’ve been thinking about what it’s like to be a part of this small, growing family business and how I found myself here after years in a completely different profession.
After years of teaching, I went into administration of religious education in South Carolina. Along with that I spent numerous years on religious education advisory boards and as a consultant for a religion textbook publishing company on an as needed basis.
Melting in Chocolate
So how did I end up here staring down into a bowl of melted chocolate? The answer is- I have absolutely no idea! But isn’t that one of the joys of life, to find ourselves doing things we never imagined we could or would do and loving it. I have found that through my experiences in life I have grown and changed, and developed new gifts and talents. I believe that as we evolve throughout life we are called to give of ourselves in different ways. What a person does now may not fit 5 or 10 years from now. I certainly never dreamed of this!
I still enjoy being with small children. Would I be in a classroom with first graders full time now? Probably not. I love engaging in conversation with young people and enjoy their enthusiasm and energy about everything that they do. But I don’t think I would benefit anyone by being in full time youth ministry as I once was.
Now that our little truffle making endeavor has turned out to be the beginning of a very real small family business I have to rethink some of the notions I have of each of us involved, including myself.
Chocolate Truffle Making is a Busy Business
My husband Bill has been a pastry chef for many years so it is easy for me to see him in that role. However, to be a real part of what he does is a very different experience for me. During the 25 years Bill worked in restaurants I had a great appreciation for the work he did and enjoyed indulging in what he made. However, to actually watch how he functions as a professional is quite different. It’s amazing to see the meticulous care he takes with each step of making the different parts of a truffle or how he layers each cake so carefully as if he was handling a newborn. I always knew by eating what he made that he was amazing at what he did, but after all these years to observe him work is sometimes like watching art being made.
For a recent event Bill was asked to make a wedding cake that was suggestive of the artwork of Gustav Klimt. Bill’s inspiration came from his painting “Tree of Life”. It was so amazing to see him express the work of this artist of the Art Nouveau Era on the cake. But seeing the bride’s face when she saw the cake was his greatest reward. Then there was the enthusiastic smile and thumbs up when she took that first bite. What a privilege it is for us to be a part of it all.
How Many Mint Leaves . . .
Then there are the times when he’s developing recipes for a new infused flavor.
How many mint leaves does it take to get the desired taste for the mint truffle?
How much of the espresso bean is needed to bring out the perfect balance of chocolate and coffee so that each is enriched by the other. He is like a scientist experimenting to find the correct formula to bring a little smile and mmmmmmm to the face of as many people as possible.
A Part of Something Special
I think I am still a part of something that brings a little bit of joy to people; it is just in a different (and tastier) way. We help a woman express her love for her daughter who is away at school by making and sending the truffles that were specially picked out by her mother. We help with the celebration of a new marriage or a new baby. And we make many, many new friends. As I get more and more involved in the truffle making process I understand why one of our banners says simply “Hypnotic Dark Chocolates”.
Thank you for letting us be a part of the many ways you celebrate life.
—tune in next time for Part II of “Confessions of the Chocolatier’s wife”