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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chocolate in Vancouver: 2nd Nibble

If you have been in our shop or visited our web site, you already know that I love to use color on the chocolates I create. 

The problem with airbrushing cocoa butter is that, like chocolate itself, it is very finicky.  Cocoa butter is that fat that comes from the cacao bean that cocoa liquor comes from.  Cocoa liquor is mixed with sugar and milk if making milk chocolate, to make the chocolate we all enjoy so very much. 

The cocoa butter can be pressed out of the liquor and used in other applications such as hand painting once color is added.

One of the aspects of being a chocolatier I love most is the creative process and the opportunity to learn by trial and error.  The problem with airbrushing cocoa butter is that it prefers to clog up the equipment rather than flow through it.  I had reached my limit of frustration with the amount of “error” in this learning process.  It was time for reinforcements! 

Ta-da!  Thank you Joanne and Carlos!


The good news is that in about 5 minutes of class, I learned what I had traveled thousands of miles to know.  That means the rest of the time was spent honing my skills, experimenting and learning other things that I didn’t even know I wanted to learn!


Still more to come…….

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chocolate in Vancouver: 1st Nibble


I want to let you know about an exciting opportunity I had recently that will ultimately result in new chocolate designs and tastes to tempt your taste buds.

I recently traveled to Bowen Island, just off the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia to attend a class at Cocoa West, a small artisan chocolate shop that prepares delicious organic chocolate confections.



The class was focused on the use of color on chocolate and specifically taught techniques to airbrush colored cocoa butter.  Joanne Mogridge, chocolatier, and her husband, Carlos, artist and co-owner of Cocoa West, taught the class to six participants from across the US and Canada.


It was an opportunity not only to learn specific techniques from Joanne and Carlos, but to learn from others in the class who had a wide variety of backgrounds in chocolate.


More coming……..the trip held way too much for one post.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Tribute to Mothers

Mother’s Day is now officially less than a week away.  In the midst of preparing gifts that will make your mom, grandmother or other mother figure in your life feel special and appreciated, I find myself thinking about my own mother.


Mothers and grandmothers, aunts and mothers-in-law are infinitely influential in our lives.  From my mom, I learned how to care for other people.  The creativity involved in preparing Stella Leona chocolates comes in part from my mom who has spent many hours of her life painting and creating quilts.

Freida quilting

My mom put up with me when was a difficult kid and loves me in spite of my faults, and believe me, she KNOWS what they are. Thanks Mom!!! I love you!

I was also forever changed by the investment my grandmother, Leona and her sister, my great aunt Estella made in my life.  I learned from them the joy that exceptional food can bring to people we love.  I saw living examples of what it means to work hard and invest in the lives of other people.

SL young

This Mother’s Day, take a few moments to express appreciation to your mom for the way she has loved you.  If you are missing your mom this Mother’s Day, remember what you love most about her and find a way to pay it forward to someone, anyone else you think needs to experience what you felt from your mom. 

Of course, if a chocolate expression of your appreciation is in order, stop by our shop in Pettisville or our web site.  Happy Mother’s Day!!!