In the September 2011 issue, we brought you “True, Texas,” a collective community of the imagination. Here’s our pick for this year’s True Artisan.
Enthusing about chocolate-mint truffles and praline dragées at Calvert’s Cocoamoda, the three-year-old chocolate boutique and French restaurant and that has re-energized the town’s Main Street, chef and chocolate artisan Ken Wilkinson spreads the cocoa gospel with the zeal of a refined carnival barker. “I love chocolate because you can make anything you want from it,” he says. “You can mold with it, you can sculpt and paint with it, and of course you can make delectable bonbons and truffles with it. And when you achieve a satiny sheen on the surface of the chocolate, it’s brilliant! The quality of the sheen exemplifies the art and craft of chocolate-making.”
Along with a menu of such classic French dishes as cassoulet, boeuf bourguignon, and croque monsieur sandwiches, Cocoamoda offers more than two dozen truffles—including some made with such unusual ingredients as Persian saffron and rose hips—and a half-dozen or so varieties of dragées, a compact sweet that combines the sophisticated pleasures of dark chocolate with Macadamia nuts, espresso beans, nuggets of candied ginger, and other intense flavors.
With chocolate, perhaps the most fleeting of all artistic media, Wilkinson not only creates astonishing tastes, but also evokes moods or memories. “For instance,” he says, “for my mint truffle, I wanted to capture the essence of a mid-summer stroll through a field of mint. It took me four months to perfect it.”
Cocoamoda is at 518 S. Main St. in Calvert. Call 979/364-2190; www.cocoamoda.com.
See related article in the September 2011 issue.