We recently got invited to a lovely dinner party at the home of friends Neal & Patty Brown. The evening was lively and spirited, the food and wine fabulous, and the company, as always, was so much fun! For dessert, we were offered a delicious treat – some specially crafted chocolates from Neal’s Mojo Chocolate kitchen! I really wish I’d taken a picture of the little plates that were passed around. My favorites were slender little chocolates topped with caramelized chocolate nibs (wow, wow, wow), but the truffles with a little pinch of sea salt on top were divine, too! Decisions, decisions – I had to have several to make up my mind!
Neal Brown’s Mojo Chocolates are a treat – everyone gets excited when they get one of Neal’s signature gold boxes with the purple logo in the corner. These snazzy little boxes are filled with luscious, hand-crafted truffles all nestled in purple crinkles. He uses gourmet chocolate from France, Belgium & Venezuela and they are exquisite! I was excited when Neal agreed to give a private tour of his chocolate kitchen for my blog.
When I arrived, I immediately donned a cap and then just drank in the warmth of the room and the tantalizing fragrance of chocolate. While Neal explained the importance of temperature, I snapped a few shots of the fun décor. There were antique chocolate molds and some personalized Walkerware boxes, made by Montana’s own Walker Davis clay artist.
While we talked, he worked on his cocoa dusted truffles.
He began by dipping the little ball of ganache in the warm melted chocolate to cover:
When the ganache was coated with chocolate, he placed it in a bowl of finely grated white chocolate – I watched him grate it with a rotary cheese grater earlier. I love this shot – that’s three kinds of chocolate . . . so far:
After a few good rolling tosses in the white chocolate, the truffle was transferred into the seasoned cocoa powder for a final coat of goodness:
These are cocoa nibs – made from roasted cocoa beans. I tasted them and found them bitter but interesting. They’re much sweeter (and so addictive) when he caramelizes them for some of his confections. (I read about cocoa nibs and find that they are sometimes used in gourmet cooking – either chipped up as a garnish or for freshly ground cocoa powder.)
Watching Neal work, and knowing how great his chocolates taste, reminds me of the movie Chocolat . . . how the villagers in the little French town rediscovered their passion after getting a taste of the chocolatier’s offerings.
Oh yeah, it’s like that.