Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011
April was a diverse month peppered with lots of travel. I was in San Francisco, Newark, New Haven, Denver, Chicago, London, Lisbon and back to San Francisco. Tomorrow I leave for Cincinnati by way of Denver and then finally back to Los Angeles. I kind of feel like the George Clooney character—Ryan Bingham—in Up in the Air. He finds himself on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles. I’ve already traveled well beyond ten million miles reaching some of the 131 countries I’ve visited over the last 30 years.
I had business meetings, a very successful restaurant opening, a couple of critical tasting sessions and two weeks ago Choclatique participated in the fifth annual San Francisco Chocolate Salon at Fort Mason. There, in a 50,000 square foot exhibit space there was a lot to see and taste including lots of chocolate, of course.
In addition to chocolates and other sweets, there were food demonstrations and cookbook signings, wineries and the judging for awards for great chocolate. It was educational, too, as many visitors found it fascinating to learn more about the different methods used in the chocolate making process, from stone grinding cacao to finding the perfect combination of soils and environments to create different tasting chocolate.
Olympic star, Brian Boitano, one of the celebrity judges, chose Choclatique as his favorite chocolates of the day. He sampled our Root Beer Float—always a show stopper, and Peanut Butter and Jelly—my all-time favorite. In his column he told his readers that the Choclatique assortment and the look of the chocolates were outstanding and drew particular attention to our Watermelon Patch, Carrot Cake, Creamy Orangesicle, Caramel Apple and, of course, our Chicks. The latter is too cute for words as you see an emerging Chick hatching through a cracked egg in a variety of fifteen different flavors and designs.
And then there were the prizes where Choclatique won in all three categories Gold, Silver and Bronze. Choclatique was named The Best Gift Set, The Most Artistic Designs, Most Luxurious Chocolate Experience, The Best New Product and The Best Chocolate in the San Francisco International Salon. Not terribly shabby for a small artisan chocolate company.
But that’s not all the excitement coming from Choclatique this month. We received the first delivery of our new, keepsake leather chocolate boxes—a big upgrade from the original Tiffany-style boxes that we started with. These new boxes are so attractive that people will keep them for years like the old cigar boxes of yesteryear.
Joan, Vicki, Dave and Matt have been working like crazy putting all the finishing touches on our new Choclatique website, which makes shopping not only a lot easier easier, but certainly more fun. There are numerous new features that provide more information in a less complicated format. Of course, Build-A-Box (8, 15 and 30-Piece boxes) is still a major part of our new, entertaining store front where you can mix and match from any of our large assortment of truffles and choose your own custom assortment and save it in your shopping bag for future gift giving. Imagine having your very own named assortment of chocolate ready to go any time you want it.
Choclatique—The Book— is complete. I have reviewed all of the final design pages complete with beautiful photo images and QR Code links (for smart phones) that demonstrate many of the ChefSecrets. This will be the first interactive cookbook with a tasting kit and live action video. My editor, Geoffrey Stone, and his entire team at Running Press did a great job exceeding our high-expectations for a quality cookbook that properly represents Choclatique.