Beth Kirsch Chocolatier
My goal when making artisan chocolates is to create confections that look beautiful, taste extraordinary, and offer a moment of pure bliss when you experience them. I use high-quality French chocolate and fresh ingredients such as home-roasted espresso beans, mint leaves, Madagascar vanilla beans, roasted nuts, wine, liqueurs, jasmine tea leaves, and homemade fruit purees. I make them in small batches, all by hand. I don’t use preservatives ever and rarely add sugar unless it’s absolutely necessary (making caramel, for example).
Many chocolatiers start out as pastry chefs; I came to chocolate after spending much of my professional life producing children’s media, including the Emmy Award-winning PBS literacy series Between the Lions. I’ve discovered that making television and making chocolates have much in common—both require imagination, inspiration, creativity, attention to detail, artistry, and a desire to share your creations with an appreciative audience.
I eat chocolate just about every day…it never fails to make me feel happy. As Winnie-the-Pooh once said about balloons, nobody can be uncheered by chocolate.
Beth’s Chocolate was featured in the Food section of The Boston Globe. You can read the story and see my recipe for Cashew Cranberry Bark here.
Becoming a Master Chocolatier
My passion for making chocolates began with an Eiffel tower mold I bought in Paris. Although I filled it with high-quality melted chocolate, the broken pieces I struggled to whack out of the mold tasted grainy and barely edible. Big disappointment!! That prompted me to take a chocolate-making class, where I enjoyed three wonderful hours making truffles and molded chocolates, having no idea at the time where this would lead.
I spent several years making chocolates on my own, then worked for three months as an intern at EH Chocolatier in Somerville. After that, I earned a Professional Chocolatier certificate, with honors, through the Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts. In April 2016, I trained in France as a Master Chocolatier at the Valrhona École du Grand Chocolat in Tain-l’Hermitage.
How to Store Chocolates
My handcrafted chocolates taste best the sooner you eat them. The bonbons should be enjoyed right away, or at least within a few weeks. Chocolate bark and the Ultra Thin Crunch will last for several months—if you can resist eating them for that long. Store the chocolates at room temperature in an airtight container.
Chocolates in the refrigerator pick up moisture as well odors from other foods. They’re more likely to develop chocolate “bloom”—white spots or streaks. Although you can still eat them, the texture and taste won’t be nearly as good. Chocolates definitely don’t like the freezer or being left in a car when it’s hot or very cold outside.
About the Chocolate
I tasted dozens of chocolates from all over the world to decide which ones I wanted to use in my confections. I was surprised to discover how remarkably different various chocolates taste, even when comparing all 70% dark chocolates. The types of cacao beans used, where they’re grown, how they’re processed and manufactured, and other ingredients (such as vanilla) all affect the flavor, color, and texture of each brand.
Valrhona, made in France, is my hands-down favorite. Valrhona makes many different kinds of dark and milk chocolates, each with a unique, complex flavor and a perfect melt-in-your-mouth texture. I prefer dark chocolates with a strong, rich cocoa taste and milk chocolates that are smooth and creamy without being overly sweet. I chose the varieties I use after figuring out which ones work best with other flavors. What pairs well with coffee, for example, may overpower a subtle hint of jasmine.
Although white chocolate isn’t technically chocolate (it’s made with cocoa butter, sugar, and milk), I searched for one with an appealing flavor that wasn’t too sweet. My most recent favorite is a new organic white chocolate from Valrhona. I use white chocolate to make the cinnamon ganache layer in my cappuccino bonbons and for cheesecake truffles. I’m also experimenting with some new flavors for white chocolate fans.
For information about Valrhona’s commitment to Fair Trade practices and sustainability, visit their website.
Since I make the chocolates in small batches, it may take up to 10 days to fulfill your order. If you need an order to arrive by a specific date, let me know. I ship chocolates by Priority Mail, which generally takes 2–3 days. A $10 flat rate shipping fee is automatically added to each order. For large orders that cost significantly more than $10 to ship, I will contact you to let you know the actual shipping cost based on the quantity and destination.
When the temperature is above 70°F, I don’t ship chocolates. I don’t want you to end up with a puddle of melted chocolate, and shipping overnight with ice packs is too expensive.
I want you to be happy with my chocolates! Since I don’t add any preservatives, they have a short shelf life and will taste best the sooner you eat them. Please let me know if they are defective in some way so we can determine the refund due. However, I can’t guarantee the condition of shipped chocolates. Although I pack the chocolates to protect them from damage, I don’t have any control over shipping delays, rough handling, weather conditions, or how long the package sits at your doorstep.