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Who do you think is the best female chocolatier you've met. Most seem to be men and I am curious who you would count amoung the top ten females out there!

As I understand it, a chocolatier is someone who makes confectionery from chocolate. Chocolatiers are distinct from chocolate makers, who create chocolate from cacao beans and other ingredients.


Rick

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Gayle's in Detroit
Penny Chocolates in DC 'burbs.

To name a couple!

b
Linda Grishman of Sweet on Vermont Artisan Confections. Has been making hand made chocolates since 1984.
the reason why there are so few is because it's still a man's world. Guys help one another. Women either give up or let their husbands take over...... and they don't take women seriously either.
I take you seriously linda...even if you are a chick... ; )
Or said a slightly less depressing way: its a male dominated industry that has been run in a particular way -- pathways via established training schools, I would guess for pastries because a lot of famous chocolatiers seem to have pastry background, and corporations and old boy networks -- for a long time, but is now being opened up to amateurs of both genders thus removing some of the gender, socio-economic, and regional barriers to entry. No doubt due to greater ease of acquiring materials & training (thank you internets). The new and growing number of known female chocolatiers indicates there may be a shift coming in the gender balance as well as the big-box to artisan focus. The more women in the industry, the more there will be. Plant a flag at the mountaintop and more will come!
There have been many good female chocolatiers for quite awhile, particularly in places like Japan. The fact is, most female chocolatiers have dominated the US market, but typically of the grandmotherly variety.

Ultimately, I think the goals of male and female chocolatiers appear to be different, with women focusing on comfort foods, while men have a more detached approach. This means that their final products are likely to leave different impressions. Case in point:

Ginger Elizabeth's chocolate covered caramel was good, nice, pleasing, enjoyable etc. All the components were spot on and it looked beautiful, but classic and simple. Nothing spectacular, nothing challenging, but exactly the flavors one might conjure up when thinking of chocolate covered caramel. Not a particularly memorable product aside from how exactly it met expectations of all chocolate covered caramels.

Christopher Elbow's rosemary caramel on the other hand, all painted up pretty and dramatic, the texture was more liquid than expected, but I like that... the flavor, at once interesting and then horrible. The kind of bitterness in the back of the throat you'd only expect to experience moments before someone waves a bottle of antidote as part of an aggressive negotiation. However, it was memorable and you'll hear the too compasionate critic cry "you have to expect some failures when you're always pushing the envelope like he is." I disagree, but that is beside the point.

This makes Ms. Elizabeth the superior, but less memorable chocolatier, because love it or hate it, Mr. Elbow's stuff is not comforting and memories of his products do not intermingle with expectations.
Try mine.
I'm sure they're great... but looking at the rest of your products... I'm also sure they fall into the comfort food category. Not a bad thing by any means.
Robert,

I'm sure your comments aren't intended as condescendingly sexist stereotypes, but they could possibly be construed that way.

It might open your eyes to place an order with Chocolate Life forum participant Sarah Hart's Alma Chocolate, specially requesting her habanero caramel (one of the best caramels I've had in the US and a "must buy" whenever I'm in Portland), salted lavender caramel, lapsang souchong caramel, and rosewater caramel. Try some of her other pieces as well, to see if they fit your hypothesis. (Did your grandma make Thai peanut butter cups or cardamom/burnt sugar/sesame bonbons?)

Or try Katherine Clapner's Dude, Sweet Chocolates (Dallas, Texas). Clapner, a former pastry chef for Stephan Pyles, is hardly "comforting," with her roasted beet/olive oil ganache, fermented Louisiana tobacco, olive oil/butter/hemp seed, lemon/yerba mate, et al.

Look at the work of Cindy Duby of DC Duby (Vancouver, Canada).

Look at Autumn Martin, head chocolatier for Theo Chocolate (Seattle, Washington), with the brilliant fig/fennel ganache.

Or look on almost any gourmet market shelf these days to see Vosges, the brainchild of Katrina Markoff, whose decidedly ungrandmotherly products get more press and have more name recognition in America (deserved or not) than those of any male chocolatier.

Though you may not be intentionally dismissive of the creativity of female chocolatiers, I think your broad brush strokes both overlook the truly ambitious work undertaken by female chocolatiers all over the country and elide the fact that most chocolatiers--male or female--do safe, predictable, familiar work, because they find it sells better than occasionally gag reflex-inducing creativity.
*sigh* I'm thrilled you were able to complete your agenda without having to worry about the actual content of my comments.
It did not meet her personally but I tasted her chocolate more than once. I thing that Cecilia Tessieri from Amedei Tuscany Chocolate is a great chocolate maker and a great chocolatiers!
Melt (http://www.meltchocolates.com/v2/Video.aspx) makes the most delicious rasbury truffles.

rococo http://rococochocolates.com/ makes best 'Long Ting' tea truffle.

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