Sunday, January 24, 2010

Eat Your Heart Out Willie Wonka

Where do I begin?? Sooo...I have managed to talk my way into an amazing place called Cocoamoda for some externship hours. It's like an oasis in the middle of nowhere-- truly. Imagine fine French cuisine and delightful chocolate truffles made from luxurious Valrhona chocolate. Where is this Cocoamoda you might ask?? In Calvert, Texas! This small town is located approximately 2 hours from any major city. At one point in its history, Calvert was the fourth largest city in Texas. Back when cotton was king and the railroad was booming, Calvert was thriving. Now it is a bit of a sleepy little town with a mere 1500 inhabitants. There are several antique shops, artists lofts and cafes. And then....there is the jewel that is Cocoamoda. At the helm is Chef Ken Wilkinson-- a colorful and entertaining character that has quite a resume to boast about. From cooking for royalty to a TV cooking show, he has pretty much circled the globe and has stories to entertain and skills to wow your pallate. I went last Friday for my first day of chocolateering (is that even a word??) with Chef Ken and his motley crew. Truly no expense has been spared with either the restaurant or the chocolate factory. Chef Ken had a hand in tearing down and rebuilding the historial edifaces--- showing me the digits he lost during construction as proof of how "hands on" he truly was. I was given an apron and allowed to help create some of the delicious morsels that treat the taste buds of anyone who walks through the door and asks for a sample. If you ever find yourself in the vicinity of Calvert, Texas, be sure to stop in and visit with Chef Ken. And if you are unable to stop in, do yourself a huge favor and order some of these delicious treats online so that you too can sample what Chef Ken Wilkinson has poured so much of his blood, sweat and tears into.....literally.


The grand entrance to the restaurant.

A view of the restaurant seating area and chocolate sampling area.

How could you possibly resist??

Entrance to the chocolate factory....aka heaven for chocoholics... my glory surrounded by an unending supply of the good stuff...

Do you think they had to drag me out of here kicking and screaming??

Dive in to the vat of tempering chocolate!

Truffles filled with milk and honey ganache.

Creepy head carved out of chocolate--- leftover from Halloween.

Wine bottle made of chocolate that will serve as part of a display for Valentine's Day.

Cacao bean roaster. This is part of a large section of the factory that houses equipment transported from an older chocolate factory in Pennsylvania. Very nostalgic.

Lovely space in the factory overlooking the chocolate enrobing room that can be used for meetings, receptions, etc.

Au revoir Cocoamoda....see you next week!

Wait...I can't leave out the yellow bike dude....

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