9/03/2003

i am officially an oompa loompa. i think i forgot to mention in recent posts that i've been working at the jacques torres chocolate factory here in brooklyn. and yes, i make chocolate. lots and lots of chocolate. i don't eat so much of it, mostly because i've never been that obsessed with the stuff (bacon, maybe. cheese, yes. chocolate, not so much). but the shit is goooood (particularly the passion fruit hearts, fresh squeezed lemonade, raspberry fruit, golden espresso, and pistachio. oh, and the hazelnut praline, fresh coconut, and definitely, definitely the bandol breeze). all the chocolates (more or less) are made with ganache, a chocolate and cream mixture that is difficult to handle because it tends to be unstable (and hence, large manufacturers like godiva don't make the stuff). ganache is lovely for its texture, density, and mouthfeel. the factory's less willy wonka and more i love lucy (and sometimes less "chocolat" and more detroit), but it's still a pretty neat place. everything there is pretty fuckin' big, it being a factory and all. it's crazy how many people come from upstate and further afield (florida, california, japan), mostly because they've seen jacques on the food network or have heard about him from his days at le cirque. making chocolate, i've learned, is a very chemically complicated process that involves a multitude of variables (heat, humidity, etc.) that affect crystallization (and hence, whether the stuff sets or not). torres' website is fairly interesting and informative on the subject, and there are pretty pictures of his chocolates and other confections as well. i'm only going to be working there for another week or so, but it's worth checking out if you happen to swing through DUMBO. sometimes, they even have those mindblowing mudslide cookies of his out in the shop, which have a ratio of about 8 kilos of chocolate to 600 grams of flour. mmf. then there's the chocolate-covered hazelnuts, macadamias, almonds, ginger, or cornflakes. i wouldn't mind taking the wicked hot chocolate (called "wicked" as it's spicy, mexican-style) in an iv-drip. the espresso ain't that bad either.

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