For the past couple of years I have been making various contributions to this forum. Some have had me take some heat. Some of the responses to my posts have been downright insulting to me. Others have asked some very pointed questions - questions such as "Who are you to be saying what you do?"
It's a valid question, seeing as I don't present people outside of Calgary with the opportunity to buy my chocolate and confections, and this is a global forum.
Having said that, I feel it's appropriate to, this once, blow my own horn, and provide some legitimacy to what it is that I do here in Calgary.
Here's a true story:
On January 20th, I happened to be in my shop doing some last minute running around before going to the mountains for the weekend.
A couple of relatively unassuming gentlemen entered the shop and began talking to Charmaine, my head chocolatier at length. As I walked past, Charmaine handed me one of their cards. To my suprise, they were from Chocolate Giant Barry Callebaut. Not only that, but they were none other than Derrick Tu Tan Pho, Barry Callebaut's Technical Director, and Mark Pennington, Western Canada's Sales Manager!
They said they'd heard great things about my little shop, and had flown to Calgary to see what I was I doing!
We talked at length, and I invited them to an event I was hosting this evening. They graciously accepted and spent the evening with 10 patrons, listening to me blabber on about chocolate, and what we do in our shop, and what makes our chocolate so much better than mainstream mass produced chocolate.
By the end of the evening, they were blown away with Choklat. Derrick paid me one of the biggest compliments I've had yet in my career as a chocolatier. He said that my chocolate is every bit as good as the finest chocolate in the world - chocolate made by artists like Cluizel, Amedei, and Valhrona!
He also provided some great tips with regard to our confections, and how to increase shelf life without compromising quality.
In a follow up email, Mark was quoted as typing:
"Sensational chocolate class tonight. I also really enjoyed your products.
In fact a Remarkable effort and some of the best bean to bars chocolate I've seen."
So, for those of you out there on the "chocolate net", who question who I am, or what I do, or the quality of that which I make, the fact that one of the most respected chocolatiers in the world makes a trip to little 'ol Calgary to visit ME, and then pays such high praise to my creations, I hope this nullifies any doubts you may have with regard to my skill with cocoa beans.
Cheers everyone, and Happy Chocolate Making.
Thanks for your response. If you posted this from the East Coast then it was about 2:30a.m. when you posted. That speaks to me of your concern about this issue.
As I see it, you both make some valid points. The bottom line is that respect is paramount and you've shown respect and restraint in your posts. I appreciate the humility of your apology.
I think that, along with every member here, you and Brad both benefit from this community, and you both add value to it (unless there is contention and a lack of respect). To add this value with your contributions takes your time, energy, and often research. Clay, you of course contribute more to this community than anyone, but you also probably directly benefit more from it than anyone. I think that you both need to think of the rewards you get from this community (both direct and indirect).
Brad should certainly gain more customers from his OP.
After the claims that Brad made about the quality of his chocolate it's a shame that it isn't more widely available, but I can understand the rationale that he explained why he's not set up to ship. I'm glad that I never emailed him to inquire about getting some of his chocolate, though.
Now I think I'll just contemplate and imagine eating a Chuao or Porcelana bar...