Most people have seen the influence that Norman Love has had on chocolatiers all over the world, without really knowing much about the person behind the techniques. Since even before founding Norman Love Confections in 2001 with his wife Mary, he was known for innovative and intricate surface decorations on his molded chocolates using colored cocoa butters applied using various techniques.
Today, almost every chocolatier who makes shell-molded chocolates has at least one piece that uses one of the techniques that Norman has perfected.
Now is your chance to ask Norman questions: About his techniques, his inspirations, what it's really like to produce millions of pieces a year (he's a creative force behind Godiva's G collection as well as doing the production), what he looks for in chocolate and how he chooses the ones he uses, business advice, anything you like.
You can ask your questions by replying to this Forum post. You have until Valentine's Day to post your questions. Then, he and I will look over all of the questions that have been submitted and he will answer the 10 of them that we find most interesting. I'll give him a week or so to compose responses, then he'll send those answers to me, I'll format them, and then post them for you to read and comment on. I hope to convince Norman to join TheChocolateLife so he can respond to your comments.
Norman contacted me a couple of weeks ago to let me know he was about to launch a new collection, BLACK, in time for this holiday gifting season. BLACK not only takes the surface decoration techniques he is known for to an entirely new level, it is a collection of five origin bonbons. Anyone who knows chocolates well will immediately recognize the chocolates he chose for the collection: Felchlin's Grand Cru line. Norman has been using Felchlin chocolates for a long time but this is his first collection that features the Grand Cru collection - 74% Cru Hacienda (Dominican Republic), 72% Ecuador, 68% Cru Sauvage (Bolivia), 65% Maracaibo Clasificado (Venezuela), and 64% Madagascar.
When I first tasted them I found them to be not only recognizable from the outside as a Norman Love product, but inside the silky, buttery texture and flavor that are his signatures were immediately evident while complementing and not overpowering the unique characteristics of each chocolate, a delicate balancing act. So, I thought it would be interesting to "interview" him in this fashion rather than talking to him myself on the phone and writing my impressions up.
Here's what the box and the bon bons look like (click to see a larger version in a new tab/window):
And for those of you who've never seen a photo, here's an official one:
Here are the answers to Norman's top 10.