Growing up in an Italian-Hungarian family we all helped in the kitchen. My Mom always got Womans Day or Ladies Home Journal magazine! I would look at all the baked goods recipes. Mom n’ dad always let me experiment with the recipes in the magazines – happily giving me money for ingredients.
The joy of baking at a young age stayed with me and continued to do so as I grew up. I loved to bake and sold baked goods at my former job on the side. I made a lot of money and really enjoyed it. I thought I was going to be a baker.
Tired of the factory job I had for years, I enrolled in the culinary program at a local community college. I had a 1-week class in chocolate and I fell in love with it. We made filigree shapes with a parchment bag filled with tempered chocolate to plate the desserts for the school’s fine dining restaurant. I loved doing this! I started making chocolates at home for everyone to sample. Everyone loved it – and so did I.
Chocolates are made fresh daily from the minute we walk thru the door until the time we close. Holidays we work long after the store closes and we work Mondays just to keep our shelves stocked during Christmas. This is one reason we are closed Mondays – especially in December. We need an entire day to work uninterrupted to re-stock, wrap candy, box candy, and fill orders. We don’t machine, or mass produce, anything. Coldwater Creek once called us for bite-sized chocolate lab dogs for a Christmas catalogue. They needed 10,000 pieces in a week. “Sorry – can’t do that!” No machining.
Our temperers are two 60 watt light bulbs underneath a stainless steel bowl that rotates while a fan spins to cool the chocolate, melting about 10 pounds of chocolate at a time.
The Art of Chocolate
Watching chocolate melt is very soothing… piping it out of a parchment bag and creating shapes and filling up tiny red paper cups with silky, ribbony, shiny chocolate is therapeutic. I love to watch it swirl in my temperer. My chocolates are filled with my passion, my love, my joy that my own two hands created! To share this gift that gives me great joy to my friends and customers is the most satisfying feeling of content that I have ever known. To see peoples faces and reactions of pure joy over a colossal piece of chocolate that they’ve sunk their teeth into is the happiest feeling ever. Nothing gives me greater joy than people’s happy faces.
I am proud of what I do and it shows in my work. Such a labor of love – I have never felt like this. Anybody can make chocolate. But making it by hand is a lost art these days. People see my love in my product and the taste. You can tell the minute you walk thru the door of the shop – this is no ordinary chocolate shop. Visually beautiful and creations unique to our store, I am sure you will find something to make your heart and your taste buds smile. See what’s gotten The Valley hooked for 11 years.
Never knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up until I was 37, I am proud to say I have found my niche in the world!