Saturday, August 9, 2008

Custom Monogrammed Chocolate Mendiants

As many of you know by now, I've never been one for decorative chocolate. Chocolate bunnies? Xmas Santas? Pink hearts? Absolutely not. I don't even approve of molded bon-bons. Not in my shop. Everything here is concerned with the experience of taste. Kind of ironic when you consider my background of an MFA in sculpture... but then again, I didn't do decorative arts then either. Form following function is the motto here, and that leaves no room for pretty little chocolates. Don't get me wrong, I'm very concerned with visual appeal, but I consider my chocolates stunning because they are hand-made, reflect the hand of the maker, and are garnished with the beautiful ingredients which are featured in the flavor profiles. I suppose that makes me easily dismissed as an arty-snob, but take me or leave me, that's me!

So when a prospective client came in asking for some custom-monogrammed chocolate rounds to spice-up the plated dessert for their wedding this weekend, I must admit, initially I frowned (at least on the inside). "Piped lettering and colored chocolate isn't really something we do here", I responded. But he was a sweet guy with a glimmer of stress in his eye, so I gave in. After all, I am a sucker for weddings. And his was in 48 hours.

So I chose to make Chocolate Mendiants, and I must admit, even I was excited about how cute they turned out.

Literally meaning "beggar of alms" and referring to the four orders of mendicant monks, Mendiants are classically garnished with almonds, raisins, hazelnuts, and figs to represent the white, gray, brown, and purple robes worn by the friars of each the the four orders of monks. In a more secular fashion, mine are garnished with delicious things like lavender-herbed grey sea salt and candied cocoa nib because I'm the chocolatier and that's what I find tasty.

He came in asking for a 4" diameter discs of chocolate with his and his husband-to-be's initials piped in pink. Pink! Again with the frowning. But despite my stubborn nature, they turned out adorably fashionable.

We settled on a price and compromised on the concept: I was happy to offer the piped lettering as long as I could present the Mendiants in one of my signature flavor profiles. And he chose Sea Salt-Nib. Fun!

Take a look! They were reverse-engineered on acetate sheets, the result of which is a shiny chocolate disc with the monogram in flush lettering. On the reverse side is the exotic garnish. I photographed them on a martini glass filled with Champagne Grapes, and what's classier than that?

Sounds interesting? We will consider custom monograms like this in orders as little as 50, though we prefer two weeks notice!

No comments: