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Chocolate Lessons

So you make therapeutic chocolate, eh?  If you ask me, chocolate is required by law to be therapeutic.   But Pam and David Griffin, the founders of Chocolate Therapy, have found a way to make chocolate healing beyond its taste.   This husband-wife duo makes their chocolate by hand with natural ingredients you’re not likely to find in your average sugar fix.  We’re talking bee pollen, ginseng, olive, pomegranate, bay leaf, and more.  Did you know that bee pollen raises mental alertness, sesame lowers cholesterol, and olive lowers blood pressure?  This couple found a way to make something that already tastes so good even better.  And it’s been a huge success.

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Lemon Lavender (left): dark chocolate lemon puree, lavender; Castaway (right): dark chocolate, coconut oil, sesame seeds

It being honey flavored marshmallows with bee pollen, and olive and green tea white chocolate, just to name a few.

It’s good enough that every customer who comes in the store gets to taste as much chocolate as they want – they have to experience the different tastes of course.  But the Boston Brunchers were invited to a behind the scenes class to witness this special chocolate production.  We watched, we dipped, we rolled, we tasted, and we were blown away by the devotion of the team who does it all, every day.

The first order of business was to make sure we could differentiate between quality and ‘average’ when it comes to a piece of chocolate. Quality comes with a strong smell, and a clean snap when you break it.  Pam and David use 52% cocoa for their milk chocolate and 63% for their dark, which are relatively high to ensure chocolate consumers are getting what they ask for – high quality chocolate.  A Hershey’s Milk chocolate bar can have 11% cocoa.  Do you know what the rest of that is?  Sugar!  All 89% of it!  It’s for these reasons that the Boston Globe praised them earlier this month for making chocolate that’s light on the guilt.  Perfection doesn’t go unnoticed for long.

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Tastes of the ‘Buzz Mallow’: a honey & bee pollen infused marshmallow coated in dark or milk chocolate

Rule #1 of chocolate making: You gotta love it. The marvels this store offers come from a mere 6 hands: the husband-wife team and Rick, their chocolate chef/wizard. Oh, and the help of Lucy, their one machine. During the holidays, she can produce 500 truffles an hour!  We could tell how passionate the team is about what they do, so we asked, concerned, when they have days off. They laughed.

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Rick, making chocolate ganache

Making the ‘Chocolate Fix’: a creamy dark chocolate truffle.  This is the ganache filling at the “uh oh” point, when you think it’s beyond salvagable.  Just keep stirring..

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This mixture is dark chocolate, heavy cream brought to a boil, and glucose, a sugar that’s debated to be better for our bodies than fructose. It’s poured into silicon molds so that it’s easy to pop out after it hardens.

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Then, they are sent through Lucy, (the machine), who coats them in a dark chocolate layer.  Don’t forget the cocoa nibs on top.

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Next, we made the raspberry truffle.  The chocolate is mixed with real raspberry puree, and it tasted good.  We were taught to make the parchment paper cone, which Rick admitted to be his most valued possession, and filled the molds.

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Lastly, for the third style of truffle we got to experiment. There was a solid slab of filing on the table. We used an ice cream scoop to scoop out a bit, rolled it in our hands and dropped it in a tub of liquid milk chocolate. Then we scooped it out with a prong-type utensil, and dropped it in a dusting of either cocoa or pistachio.

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The team taught us about chocolate, and we taught them about social media. Fair trade on our part I’d say. Pam was amused by all of our cameras, tweeting, and our group in general and its fascination with such food detail. We do it so we can tell stories like yours, Pam! And we cannot thank the Chocolate Therapy team enough for the amusing, educational, and delicious evening.

What’s next for this experimental team? I’m glad you asked. They are soon to receive their wine and beer license. This means… Wine and chocolate tasting. We’ll be back. All of us. With friends, and family, and everyone.

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Pam, either explaining a chocolate secret or praising us for our social media obsession/usage, which she found astonishing.

This chocolate making class was provided free of charge as part of my involvement with the Boston Brunchers per agreement to write an honest blog post regarding the event.
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