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- Bitter, like chocolate - Stu's Journal
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Thank you, Eric!! Owner, Projet Chocolat. Your magazine has been a tremendous resource as I begin my journey into the craft of chocolate making. Chocolate Connoisseur Annual Subscriber.
Join the Club! Please check your email for the next step, and thank you for joining the CC Club! View the Offer. Your Journey to Connoisseur Begins Here…. Free Chocolate! Email Enter Now. Start your own chocolate adventure right here…. Learn More. More From Chocolate Connoisseur…. Click Here for the Holiday Chocolate Shop. February On the cover: Endorfin Foods. April On the cover: Wolf Chocolate.
March On the cover: Kad Kokoa. What people are saying about Chocolate Connoisseur Exclusive Interviews with Chocolate's Finest. Visit Rawclates Chocolate. Visit Cadence Chocolates. Such wonderful creative things are born here because this shop is full to the brim with the most interesting, kind people willing to challenge that ordinary. Every day here is different.
CocoVaa Chocolatier opens new, glamorous shop in Marling Building on East Wash
The hard work is truly worth the effort as I get to be around such inspiring loving people and end up creating the most delicious chocolates at the end of the day. Thanks to everyone for letting me be a part of this wonderful vegan chocolate world. Last year Alexis said our staff was made of people she felt like she waited her whole life to meet, and I could not agree with her more. You are all so special to me. I get super emotional when I really sit and think about the beautiful bubble that is the shop.
When the world is so very dark it is truly amazing to be part of the softness and magic of LL. Comfortable and safe. An amazing group of strong-willed, intelligent, valuable women and a couple good men! We invented new recipes, grew to meet the demand of two new businesses, ate so many tacos, celebrated all the birthdays, endlessly discussed cult television, laughed a lot. We added amazing new members to our team and made it through the holiday season with grace and relative ease, constantly testing the limits and never settling for less.
In the shop opened doors for me to be an artist again in all my most favorite ways. This summer Lagusta, Jacob and Maresa gave me my first big commission to make all of the mugs for Commissary! This is so great! Everyone is working so hard and so well! I need some coffee! You have to do the work to meet your own demands and rally around likeminded people to push upward.
Thank you all for collectively creating an incredible adventure which I get to be part of. Senior year! Lots of stress, lots of accomplishments and growth! Working at the chocolate shop has been an invaluable experience and I am so grateful that I have been exposed to this magical, very busy world, full of making and packaging lots and lots of chocolate! It is so amazing to me that I can say that I love everyone I work with. Looking back at when I started in September, I am proud to say that I have learned so much over these past few months and that my speed at packaging chocolate especially spheres has increased exponentially.
I was riddled with crippling anxiety where I once felt endless inspiration; the creative spirit of the Hudson Valley I was so desperate to rediscover, now lost to me. The fog of self-doubt that had settled over my typical headstrong confidence finally began to lift once I was hired at the shop. When I feel lost in the place I grew up and despair thinking about the state of the world in , I can find comfort in my work and home at the shop. The best part of the year was the way we all grew together to become a team and a family. This is a place where activists and artists can come together to create beautiful things, and I feel so lucky to be surrounded by people who are passionate about what they do.
So, with a heavy heart I resigned from LL. We had a lovely farewell potluck party and I was sad. Hmmm, took all of 10 minutes to say yes. And with that I began sneaking away after the wee lad falls asleep at night to laminate dough and shape bialys for an hour or two at a time. So my year at LL feels mostly like this odd silent version of my previous life working there. Puttering around after hours like a little elf. I get to peek at what the truly busy elves get up to all day and wonder at unfamiliar-looking objects Is that a special order or just a use-up of some failed experiment?
Where the hell did the extra-gluten flour go?! Ah, the endless marching forward of time. The people rock. They work hard and they have fun. And I hope that I get to stay a part of it for a nice long time. Happy end of the year, hope we all survive the next one relatively unscathed…. These little emojis represent the collective that is Commissary! Total strangers went from sitting at a long table sniffing teas and sampling chocolates to besties slinging dranks and having Robyn dance parties while closing. Seriously, its amazing to be a part of.
Lagusta, from the get-go, has been and continues to be so hands on, patient, and understanding with me as I become more aquatinted and comfortable in the work environment. I know that I work at a place that cares for me and my wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of our customers and our environment. I am always talking on and on about my job with friends and family I think it gets annoying!
When I finished the semester Kathleen and Chrissy congratulated me and told me they saw how hard I worked they were so sincere and kind it made me want to cry. One of the best things about my time at Commissary! I see us cultivating a real sense of family and community. I remember the first shift that I worked with Sam and Kathleen, one of the tasks we had was to start de-stemming about a pound of thyme which took over a week to complete.
While we spent a few hours working on the thyme we had an unexpectedly great conversation about our lives and about life in general. Fine tuning the espresso with Jacob is always a good time and I walk away feeling more knowledgeable and confident that I am serving quality drinks. One of my favorite highlights of my time at Commissary! I look forward to it every week!! I know all of this probably sounds very corny but I mean it, I am so humbled and blown away that I have the privilege of working at Commissary!
I joined the team the week after Commissary! I could have never prepared myself for how hard I would fall for this place. Joining the LL team, and specifically the comparatively small ranks of Comm, has been a highlight of my year, and probably my life tbh.
I learned quickly that I had left my totally amazing badass radical safe life-changing job for a difficult uncomfortable hostile life-sucking one. Calm-issary has been my place of solace at the end of every long and draining week and a space for personal growth and healing. Lagusta opened the space up for community grieving and conversation and honestly is that not the most perfect thing you can imagine on the Worst Day Ever? And Lagusta gave us all the sweetest present packages?
Bitter, like chocolate - Stu's Journal
I am so thankful that this business exists and am eternally grateful to share my time on this spinning space rock with the people who make all this magic happen. Less than a week later those non-existent plans would have to be formulated as we saw what would bring: Confectionery! I was traveling most every day before we opened the two and was drawing plans, ordering equipment, securing permits, designing logos, creating menus the entire time while also doing my traveling job.
For me was about the month of May when we met, trained, and welcomed into the LL world our new staff, new businesses, and new challenges. Personally, there was a lot change, but good! Having a space to heal, have unfiltered conversations, and eat lots of sugar has been a really wonderful and necessary thing. Here are a few standout moments for me:. It still feels like a dream that I get to work in the sweetest sugar-stocked shop in my favorite neighborhood.
I love my walk from the train station every day, up Broadway a block to Wanamaker Place and then down, east, as it turns into 9th street, down past the man from Veselka unloading their produce delivery, down past Superiority Burger, down to the shop. Meditations in the rhythms of daily life. I love the vintage wallpaper and the Mitzvah Wall.
- Craig Healing Springs.
- Transsiberian, My Love.
- The King’s Beacon.
- New Products.
- Chocolatier | Definition of Chocolatier by Merriam-Webster!
I love the hazelnut sugarplum bars and the corn macarons especially. I love seeing the excitement people have when they discover every single thing in the shop is vegan. I love our customers so much!!! They are seriously the best and that is not something I say lightly at all. They really are. I love getting to know our regulars and their flavor preferences, and I also love talking to the people who are only passing through.
I just really fucking love food, the experiences we collect in relation to things eaten, the power of food to inspire and enrich our being as we go through our lives. I absolutely love being able to be a part of that here. Did you know we have a cafe now? At Commissary! Be sure your milk is unsweetened or your eggs will be disgusting!
Part one, with a lot of words from me, is here. It was the year I truly felt at home in the shop. And we rallied around one another, everyone so soft and so strong. This past month I kept catching myself smiling as I walked through the shop, watching everyone work so seamlessly and flawlessly together through our busiest time.
I am a relative newcomer to the LL family, having arrived in June to this lovely, tight-knit, happy crew. Thankfully, it has been a smooth, easy ride. I so appreciate everyone accommodating me and him, even during the busiest of times, and it has made the whole experience just perfect. Joined a CSA, stopped supporting businesses that have dodgy practices, ate better and encouraged others to do the same, the whole shebang. I owe her a big thanks for that inspiration and kick in the pants.
But the best highlight for me was making a bunch of friends who make going to work the highlight of my week!! Thank you, one and all. In I was focused entirely on improvements inside the shop but this past year we started looking outside. We always have a list of wants, needs, and dreams for projects at the shop if only you knew of some of the grander dreams that have come and gone over the last few years! That started with a plan to redo our perpetually potholed filled driveway with porous pavers. We went though many design ideas and in the process realized that redoing the front area and setting the parking area back away from the building would be the best best for now.
We had our farmer friend Ian Taliaferro design and do the work and we revealed it at our 4-year anniversary party. We also added an awning on the side entrance of the shop no more shoveling snow in order to get into the shop! In addition, one of my favorite new items a years long project! This was a huge opportunity for us to bring it up to date but also a lot of pressure to work with one of our oldest, and most recognized, products. After eliciting outside help thanks Scott! I used to eat Snickers Ice Cream bars as a kid and there was always the want, the need, for one.
Lo and behold, we have it! I was lucky enough to taste-test so many great ice creams and slushy flavors this summer. In fact, I think I did as long as I could until they ran out. I even helped forage for these so I think I earned it! The list goes on. I feel so lucky to be a part of such a strong community of talented people who provide me with infinite opportunity for growth- and to be able to feel that about a workplace is something rare and unforgettable. The highlight for me this winter was definitely getting to work with so many unique, fun, quirky, entertaining, kind, helpful, amazing people.
Everybody was willing to teach and answer questions and to share their love of this delicious, creative work. Birthdays were always highlights as well- whether we had potlucks or pizza parties it was so great to set aside time during the busy day to celebrate and enjoy food and good company! One LL time that I will always remember is working on Halloween. We had spent the day before packaging pieces of bark that looked like spider webs for the trick or treaters.
Come Halloween and the herds of trick or treaters, we ran out of spider web bark within 2 hours, and had to frantically package random pieces for the masses of children that were coming into the shop. As frantic as it was, it felt strangely fun to be that insanely busy for the day. Working with people who are hilarious and talented barely gets tiring when you are proud of what do you.
And how Phish NYE is their only outlet for happiness. The next post will be notes from most of our staff, but first a few thoughts of my own. I barely worked—which is a string of words not appropriate to describe me since I was fourteen. I cared for my mother as she battled cancer, and came into the shop in bits and pieces. Now, on the other side of everything and trying to slowly process and heal, one of the excitements of the future for me is the knowledge that I can take time for other projects without the chocolate business collapsing. I have some great plans for both personally and professionally.
Mostly we can only do little gift certificates and things, but slowly we do more and more, which feels good. When we bought a new Selmi fancy chocolate machine that keeps 50 lbs of chocolate in perfect temper all the time! When Kate took over making ice cream from me and was almost instantly better at it than me humbling; wonderful. Our four year anniversary party was magical. I loved the one Savory Dinner Series we did. My mom loved hanging out at the shop so much. Keeping the little garden out front and growing the flowers we use in the Flower Tablets is always a highlight of my year.
Our pal Ian Taliaferro did such a magnificent job. Or maybe it was the mega-fluorescent photos I took of it. Not to worry, everything lives forever on the internet. Also—often people sign up to get posts on this blog in their email. Mashed potatoes are fortified with just enough other sustenance to qualify as a main dish in this Irish wintertime staple. Instead of a strict gravy recipe, here are some guidelines for how to conceptualize and improvise a vegetarian gravy almost completely with ingredients already in your refrigerator.
These guidelines make a lot of gravy—about five cups, which freezes well. Begin with a strong vegetable base. Two onions, chopped, a pound or so of shiitake or cremini mushrooms a mix is nice too , diced, works well. Anything in the onion family contributes to a hearty base: leeks, scallions, or shallots are great too. Fry them well in just a bit more good-quality extra virgin olive oil than you think you should use about half a cup. More is more in my book when it comes to garlic, but if you disagree then add less.
Or, for an even warmer, richer flavor, roast a few heads of garlic and stir them in at the end of cooking. Let everything cook for a minute or two over low-medium heat, stirring often. Whisk in some flour to thicken and add body to the gravy: about half of a cup of all-purpose flour, or a gluten-free all purpose flour blend for a gluten-free gravy. Or, use a few tablespoons of cornstarch whisked with equal parts water then added to the gravy.
Now come the weird ingredients. Here we go: beer, miso, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, and soy sauce. Fill up the beer bottle with water and add it too, then fill it up halfway again with water and toss that in. Add a few tablespoons of miso—a darker kind makes a more intense gravy, and a lighter kind makes a more smooth-tasting gravy.
Your choice. If you have a little tomato paste hanging around, two tablespoons or so, stir that in too. Time for the novel that has become our annual best-of blog. Get yr tissues ready. A few highlights from me Lagusta : Um, I wrote a book. We started ordering period supplies by the case because we employ so many bleeding humans. Our chocolate supplier, Republica del Cacao, whisked me off to Ecuador and I spent a life-changing week learning about where these ingredients chocolate, sugar we interact with every day are born.
After three years of hard work, we launched a glorious new website. We made a gigantic Tahini Meltaway for our 7 th shop birthday party. Rachel and G taking over rammissary my bi-weekly ramen night, the only time I get to cook ever, sigh when I was too busy with Christmas craziness, and knocking it out of the park was a treat to see. I continue to learn and grow by interacting with the 35 amazing humans who work at LL Industries every day.
They make coming to work exciting and fun. I love watching them learn latte art and marbling chocolates, customer service and doing inventory. All I want for is more of the same. We enjoy observing each other momentarily, peacefully, until I punch in my code to head inside. And yes, curious custies, everything here is vegan. A few of my highlights include: You, dear customers. Rainbow cookies! No words needed. I am grateful and honored everyday by the magic revealed.
Some of my favorite moments include: Our endless conversations about our pets and all of the ridiculous things they put us through. Erika accidentally pouring a Cambro of whip into her shoes and being a total champ about it. Ramen and city trekking with Maresa, Sam, and Kim. Realizing that Jenn is the only person who loves Christmas music as much as me. We need more packing peanuts! I never met the mail carrier.
Also having Brooks form Superiority Burger pop in with foccaccia worth living for! Highlights random: Um I mean opening Confectionery! Put exclamation points after your businesses, people. Exclamation points. I have this friend I met through the internet, Liz, as one does these days. So Liz came out to do a two week-long skill-share. God, it was great! Living with another rabid food weirdo for two weeks! Working around the clock! Liz is good at everything! On one of our training days for Commissary! Bonkers, eh?
Nerve-wracking, eh? And now three of them live together and everyone hangs out after work and the team of six is so tight and runs the place by themselves ridiculously well. No fancy dinners to report about this year. Oh, but just you wait, Everyone seemed to, plainly put, get a lot better at their jobs this year. And they were very good at their jobs last year.
Everyone new we hired fit into this higher level, or rose to it quickly. Softhearted, warm, friendly. A sweet community of bands, a constellation of loveliness. No room for uncool dude vibes in our space.
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Kate turned him down and he was madddddd. I just like these guys. Not one but two of them went to Salem around Halloween because they wanted to get even witchier. I mean come on. Alexandra spent the semester in Africa preparing for a career of working with elephants and came back not missing a beat, gently teaching the newbies how best to scrub the sink. Alan has become the Commissary!
Adrienne and Kate sent a lot of chocolates to a podcast they like about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the podcasters came to the shop kvelling like crazy and everyone took a lot of photos of themselves jumping very high in the air. Not with water, just to hang out together. Kate, queen of sweet queerdos, presides over choco town appreciating these nuts as much as me, never raises an eyebrow when I ask her to do things like see if the totebag people can provide us with written proof the people sewing the totebags are paid a living wage.
Cam busting in after high school to tear through a mountain of dishes. Jacob there to catch anything that could fall through the cracks, efficiency expert, perfection personified. Um, I also like my drive home from Confectionery! Right before they close I usually have my favorite seat under the Divine poster bow down all to myself.
The highlight of my year is midnight Manhattan driving? Are you ready to tear up? As a grad school student I am so grateful for my days of placing academic papers aside and interacting with our wonderful customers. Working the front. I am blessed and honored to hear so many incredible stories from our patrons. There almost always seems to be a story associated with our chocolates.
Seriously, these women are amazing! Everyday I am excited to get to know more about them, their passions, and their world views. Also; Pizza. If there was ever an example of how we can turn chaos in a beautiful experience for us and our amazing custies. In May, I was plopped in the middle of Commissary! We have wiggled our way through the magical befuddlement of opening a new business together- the taste tests, early mornings, the whoopsies and the perfect serendipities.
And it has all bred so much more growth than I anticipated. Favorite things include: learning coffee, learning vegetables, learning to be a better me under pressure.
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I have developed a far more intimate relationship with an espresso machine than I ever thought possible. All in all, Commissary! I love the feeling of never ever dreading coming to work, never begrudgingly doing a task. I love that I want to go in on my days off just because I miss it. I love talking to Jacob about coffee and also playing questions with him to figure out that we were getting new, better, sink-drain stoppers. I love talking to Lagusta about food and I am so grateful for the new things I learn every day. More highlights include:. Here are a few standout moments for me: -when my shoe strap broke on the way to the shop one morning and I fixed it with bakery twine and it stayed together the whole day!
Working real hard for a half day then playing hooky with Kate and Olivia to go tubing on the river. Coupla things, blog friends: Did you know we have a cafe now? Some updated notes: The original recipe calls for unsweetened almond or soy milk. In my opinion it always gets too frothy when you do this, though.
Be sure your black salt is the sulfurous, eggy kind, kala namak. We use a black lava sea salt on a chocolate and always have to be careful not to mess em up.