You would not believe the things my editor asks me to do. No, seriously. We’re having a nice peaceful dinner, and all the sudden she asks me if I can do a guide to my favorite U.S.-based chocolatiers for CHOCOLATE 3 (title a tiny bit in the air still; coming summer 2013).
Does that sound like a job for me? Do I look like the kind of person who would enjoy researching all the top chocolatiers in the U.S.?
Do I look as if I’ll hold up under the strain?
Ha, ha, ha, I crack myself up.
The only problem–and I know this is going to surprise some of you–is I haven’t actually tried every single top chocolatier in the U.S. yet.
I need some HELP.
This means YOU.
Job 1: Go out and try all the good artisan chocolatiers in your area or while you’re traveling. Don’t tell me you can’t do it. This is for RESEARCH. Remember those days as a broke student when you did every research program at your university that paid ten bucks or offered pizza? This is WAY BETTER THAN THAT.
GO TRY THEM. Go farther afield. Step off the beaten path when you’re away for a weekend. TRY SOME MORE CHOCOLATE THERE. (Yes, that is how I travel.)
Job 2: When you feel you’ve found a good one–a GREAT one–WRITE TO ME.
Tell me where, tell me what, tell me why. Feel free to send photos. (Honestly, feel free to send samples, te he he…)
I will enter ANYONE who sends a genuine artisan chocolatier recommendation into a drawing for a signed advanced copy of THE CHOCOLATE KISS.* Yes, if you keep diligently researching and end up with more than one suggestion, you can be entered more than one time. (DON’T YOU STINT ON THAT RESEARCH.)
And if your arguments convince me to try this chocolatier and I AGREE with you, and I pick one of your recommendations to go into the back of CHOCOLATE 3, I’ll send you TWO signed advanced copies of CHOCOLATE 3, when it’s available, one for you, and one for the chocolatier.** Who might even give you some chocolate to say thanks! (No, seriously, s/he really might.)
I am open to many kinds of chocolate persuasion, but a few things that get me all hungry and eager to try:
1) Ganache. Dark chocolate ganache, subtly infused with flavors.
2) A range of flavors from the classic (vanilla) to the unusual (tomato-basil anyone?).
3) Hand-painted chocolates. OK, it’s not required. Many top chocolatiers do not hand paint. But those hand-painted chocolates are so pretty!
4) French training can be a good sign. But there are people who become great without it, self-trained, so just let me know their story. Speaking of which…
5) A great story. I love the stories of how people ended up where they are, making chocolate.
6) Did I mention ganache?
Some examples of U.S.-based chocolatiers I love:
A lovely selection of chocolates that have fallen sad victims to my inability to take a good photograph. Christophe Artisan Chocolatier, a third-generation French chocolatier in Charleston SC.
A close-up of some hand-painted chocolates from CaliBressan, in Santa Barbara, CA.
Just an example of some beautiful chocolates!
If you think you know of an artisan chocolatier who deserves to be in a book, let me know! And you never know, I might come by for research and do a signing in your area while I’m at it.
Please forward this call as WIDELY as you can! I want the greatest possible input!
*THE CHOCOLATE KISS advanced copies should be available in early December.
**If multiple people nominate the same chocolatier, I will draw a name for the BOOK 3 copies. CHOCOLATE BOOK 3 is due out Summer 2013, and advanced copies are usually available 3-4 weeks before release date.