Photo: BLU Boy Chocolate
The three days leading up to Valentine’s Day are the busiest days of the year for the folks at BLU Boy Chocolate Cafe & Cakery. But, owner and Executive Pastry Chef David Fletcher has a hard time hopping on board with the commercial marketing of Valentine’s Day as the chocolate holiday. For him, it’s just one of many days filled with chocolate.
The Real Benefits Of Chocolate
Fletcher is still relatively new to the culinary world, opening his store only three years ago. He studied and practiced medicine for 16 years before deciding to change careers, attend culinary school, and achieve his dream of opening his own chocolate shop.
He scoffs at the reports that chocolate is good for you. While it may be nice to read about chocolate’s positive effect on blood pressure and its antioxident levels, he thinks chocolate lovers should be honest with themselves about their true motivations. “If you want to have a piece of chocolate, it’s because you want to have a piece of chocolate, not because it has suddenly become a vitamin.”
Not Your Typical Box Of Chocolates
The first thing you notice when you look at the case at BLU Boy is all the fantastic colors and designs on the chocolates. He achieves this by swirling colored cocoa butter into a mold and then filling it with dark chocolate. They fuse, and when you pop it out of the mold, you get a tiny edible piece of art. “But, I can’t tell you how many times people come in and ask if they have to unwrap the chocolate. Or ask, ‘Is that something that’s edible?’”
Because the chocolates contain so much cocoa butter, they tend to cost more than commercially produced chocolates. In addition to allowing him to make fancy designs, Fletcher says the cocoa butter creates the melt-in-your-mouth effect. In fact, the staff aren’t allowed to pick up the chocolates and hold on to them for more than a matter of seconds because they will begin to melt with body temperature.
Artisanal chocolates like these also do not contain any preservatives. This means that Fletcher’s chocolates are less sweet than commercial varieties, because those chocolates tend to add sugar as a method of preservation.
Because they don’t have preservatives, just like fresh produce, high quality chocolate doesn’t last forever. Fletcher recommends his customers eat them within two weeks, because after that they can go bad. “There was this learning curve for us and for our customers in recognizing that this was meant to be a fresh product.”
Reluctance From Customers
He’s pushing his customers boundaries with the flavors he’s creating, too. His goat cheese truffle combines cheese from Capriole Farms with cream and chocolate.
The first three batches were very successful, but for some reason, the fourth batch fell flat with customers. Fletcher took it all in stride. “It’s like that with seasonal, holiday businesses,” he comments. “There are ebbs and flows.” Fans of the goat cheese truffle have had to live without it for a year, but he plans to make a batch come spring.
More: David Fletcher was one of eight local chefs who contributed his treats to the recent event, The Art Of Chocolate. See photos of the event and check out a recipe for the Perfect Chocolate Martini.