Complete Chocolate Lover’s Guide for the San Francisco Bay Area

Earl Grey Orange Absinthe truffle

Chocolate atmosphere


Another interesting conversation about chocolate

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box of Sonoma Chocolatiers' chocolates
A box of Sonoma Chocolatiers’ all-dark, all-the-time chocolates

In lieu of the Chocolate Salons, which have been suspended indefinitely due to COVID-19, TasteTV is hosting a series of Virtual Chocolate Salon Panels. The one on July 28, 2020, In Conversation with Self-Taught Chocolatiers, featured 3 SFBA chocolatiers in an interesting hour+ discussion with moderator Charly Kayle.

The chocolatiers were very entertaining and informative, and I learned a lot, including the fact that chocolate can create its own atmosphere if you pack it correctly.

The panelists

The award-winning chocolatiers on this panel were David Gambill of Sonoma Chocolatiers, who has over 30 years of experience making chocolates; Karen Urbanek of flying noir, who is known for combining fine art and unique ingredients in her chocolates; and Seth Bain of The Confectionist, who is a relative newcomer to artisan chocolate and makes bars, toffees, and other confections.

Assortment of flying noir’s chocolate decorated with natural colors and glittery mica

The moderator

Moderator Charly Kayle is a self-confessed chocoholic, along with being an emcee/host, podcaster, and former SFBA radio personality. She is also a Reiki master, teacher, and practitioner working with people and their pets.

The topics

Topics in the discussion ranged from the chocolatiers’ chocolate origin stories to what makes their chocolates unique to ingredient sourcing, current trends, and even how to properly store chocolate.

If you don’t want to listen to the whole panel straight through, here are the time codes for the different discussions that took place:

Confectionist Pistaschio Orange
The Confectionist’s Pistaschio Orange Toffee did very well in the latest Top Artisan Toffee Awards

5:04 Why chocolate? What makes you do chocolate?

7:51 Tell us about your chocolate. What are you known for?

12:11 What are some of your most fun, crazy combinations? Some that worked or some that didn’t?

16:22 How did you get into being a chocolatier? And did you teach yourself?

28:28 How important is sourcing of ingredients?

35:17 Do you put alcohol in your chocolates? And do you have pairing recommendations?

47:07 What are some new trends you are seeing in chocolate?

58:10 What do you suggest an aspiring chocolatier learn/join/look into?

1:01:52 What are ideal temperatures for storing chocolate?

1:08:47 One last thing

Previous Virtual Chocolate Salon Panels

In Conversation with Black Chocolatiers

In Conversation with 3 Master Chocolatiers


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Published July 29, 2020