Thursday, February 16, 2012

HONDURAN HOT CHOCOLATE: LATER THE SAME DAY

The store closed about 90 minutes ago. It was a busy Thursday, even with rain and the temperature higher than a hot chocolate maker wants the temperature to be.

Honduran Hot Chocolate went over well. More people told me today how much they liked the Honduran than any other flavor so far this month.

I made three batches, the first at 7:05 am.

Making that first batch, I was struck by a completely unique feeling: it felt like I was responsible for someone else's child.

The 'child' in this case, was Shawn Askinosie's chocolate. I met Shawn only last year, but he's a unique person, and this was the first time I had ever worked with his chocolate. I can't begin to imagine how many tons of chocolate I've chopped and melted and turned into cookies, custards, tarts and hot chocolate through the years, but still.....I don't think I've ever felt the feeling I felt this morning when I took the chocolate out of his package and was getting set to make that first batch.

Since the day City Bakery opened, our menus have revolved around what's available at the Union Square Greenmarket. I'm lucky to have known two generations of farmers fairly well at this point, and I've had the benefit of working with so much incredible produce and fruit they deliver to the city. The experience of knowing who grew the raw materials in our kitchen, two decades after starting the practice, remains a special way to make food and pastry.

Still, this morning was a different feeling. It had a weight about it, and the word responsibility was clear in my mind. Working with this chocolate, created from a wholly unique path, was like working with no other chocolate. It was a privilege, and special pleasure.

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