Chocolate is really one of the best things about Valentine’s Day, and Seattle has one of the premier chocolate makers in the country. Of course I mean Theo Chocolate, and their gorgeous cookbook by the same name just might make you rethink getting that restaurant reservation for February 14th.
Theo Chocolate is a well balanced mix of sweet and savory, small plates and entrees—something author/owner Debra Music says they worked hard to achieve. A few of us met her when we took a tour of the factory (which I highly recommend), and you can tell she put as much care and passion into the book as she does her very special chocolate company. We also had a chance to sample many of the confections in the cookbook including The Big Daddy, which is on the cover and crazy delicious.
One thing I really like about Theo Chocolate is that the beautiful photographs don’t lie—the homemade versions really can look that good. Case in point, our own Adrian Liang made the Chocolate-Swirl Meringues for a holiday baking contest here at work and got first place! Here’s a picture of the winning meringues—pretty spot-on from the book photo, if you ask me.
Here are a couple of fun facts I learned from our visit with Music:
- Many of the recipes in the cookbook were inspired by existing products—for example, the Honey-and-Saffron Braised Chicken with Cocoa Nibs was inspired by their honey-saffron caramel.
- February 2016 marks the tenth anniversary of Theo Chocolate
- Debra Music eats chocolate every day. Dark chocolate–you know, for the nutrients.
- Debra Music also loves cake. Here’s a little anecdote she told me about the origins of the Birthday Cake recipe: "I love a good layer cake with good frosting, it’s really one of my favorite things, so we needed the ultimate birthday cake recipe for the book. We did a whole internal poll: Is it vanilla cake and chocolate frosting? Is it chocolate cake and chocolate frosting? What is it? We decided it was vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, so then we must have tested and tasted fifteen different cake recipes, and then we had just as many permutations of frostings, and then we had to cross-pollinate them. Every day for two weeks, we would eat slabs of cake."
No wonder she’s got such a sunny disposition and her recipes are so good…
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