Historical Chocolate Company

18 12 2009

Historical Chocolate Company

I am crazy for chocolate. Literally, not a day goes by when I don’t have some.  

So when we came across this Virginia-based chocolate company, with original designs of historical landmarks, we couldn’t help but share with y’all. Think of their goodies like an educational easter basket!  

Chocolate, beautiful chocolate!

 

I had the chance to interview the owner, Barbara Post, about the company, how she got started, and some of her favorite treats! Enjoy!  

Barbara, the owner of Historical Chocolate Company

 

SIT: How did you get into the chocolate business and what drew you to work with this medium?  

HC: My entry into the chocolate business was really a product of chance and timing.  I wish I could claim credit for starting the Historical Chocolate Company, but it was started about twelve years ago by a couple who were looking to sell after the arrival of a third grandchild so they could spend more time with their family.  They had introduced a complimentary line of “Historical Soaps” based on their chocolate molds years ago and I had been making soap for them as a cottage industry, which is how I came to know them and the business.  They wanted to sell the business to someone they knew and who would take continue to grow it with the same spirit they had.  

After taking over the company in January 2009, I’ve worked hard to build upon the foundation I inherited.  We started with giving our brand a new look, with a new logo with a vintage look reminiscent of chocolate companies from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Our product line has expanded beyond Virginia and Washington DC with the introduction of our first South Carolina themed chocolate based on Charleston’s Middleton Place Plantation.  We hope to expand further into other Southern states in the upcoming year, in fact we’re currently talking with potential customers in the Savannah area regarding developing a mold which would bring us into Georgia.  

I jumped at the opportunity as I have always enjoyed creating and working with my hands, even though I had never made a career out of it.  I can spend eight hours at the shop and it doesn’t feel like “work” to me.  Ironically, at the time they asked, I had just started to take chocolatier classes after being inspired by a lecture I attended by John Scharffenberger of Scharffen Berger Chocolate.  

A little look inside Historical Chocolate.

 

Have you ever worked with other food mediums?  

While I love to bake, I can’t say that I’ve ever “worked with other food mediums” unless you count a high school job working as a waitress at Howard Johnson’s!  

Do you have formal culinary training? If so, from where?  

I have taken classes at L’Academie de Cuisine, a Washington DC area culinary school, where I learned the principles of tempering and molding the chocolate, and the unique differences in working with milk, dark and white chocolates.  

More peeks inside - where they make the magic!

 

Other than chocolate, what is your favorite food?  

Seafood is probably my favorite food other than chocolate, which is probably why I love Southern foods so much, given the wonderful oysters, shrimp and fish that come from the South.  When traveling in Charleston, Savannah, or New Orleans, seafood is usually my entrée of choice.  

We couldn’t help but notice most of your landmarks are Southern. Where are you from?  

Truth be told, while most of the chocolates the Historical Chocolate Company sells are based on Southern homes and landmarks, I’m a Pennsylvania carpetbagger.  I grew up in Middletown, which ironically is just a few miles away from Hershey, and moved to Virginia over thirteen years ago.  

Many people are baking at home this time of year. What are some good suggested pairings with chocolate — fruit, etc.  

In my opinion, chocolate tends to pair best with strawberries, raspberries, and cherries when it comes to fruits, but my favorite pairing for chocolate is with wine and spirits.  Many people don’t know that only California, New York, Oregon and Washington have more wineries than Virginia, and many wineries in Virginia, the Carolinas etc. are producing red wines was well as fruit wines and spirits that pair wonderfully with dark chocolate.  A quality dark chocolate with a Virginia-produced raspberry merlot is as good as it gets in my book.  

What is your favorite Christmas carol?  

My favorite Christmas carol is the Coventry Carol, which appropriately enough dates to the 16th century.  Recently, I attended a concert at Colonial Williamsburg while in town to see their Grand Illumination and was delighted that it was included on the set list.  My less traditional pick would be Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s cover of Mr. Heatmiser. If you ever get the opportunity to hear it live, I highly recommend it!  

Ok, the ultimate question, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate?  

When it comes to snacking on chocolate just by itself, I am a milk chocolate fan.  

Some of the treats available. This is a Southern location - Middleton Place in Charleston, SC.

 

What are you hoping for Christmas?  

I have a lot of things to be happy with this year, so I’m not hoping for anything in particular personally.  For the company though I am hoping to build on my first year of experience and continue to add more Southern historic homes and landmarks to our offerings in the upcoming year, as it gives me an excuse to delve further into the South’s rich heritage.  

Do you have a special recipe you’d like to share?  

While I love to bake, I have to admit that the recipe I get the most requests for this time of the year are sugar cookies made from a recipe by Alton Brown of Food Network’s Good Eats fame.  A couple of years ago, I got to meet Alton and told him that he’s made me very popular with his recipe, and he told me I was probably popular enough already!  I highly recommend it and it’s fun to decorate with royal icing.  The recipe is available online at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/sugar-cookies-recipe/index.html  

Historical Chocolate Shop Front

 

Please do check out Historical Chocolate, and think of them as you plan treats and gifts for your friends and family. You can follow HC on Facebook and Twitter as well, so you can find out first what delicious new products they are “cooking” up (pun intended)!

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2 responses

20 12 2009
Pat Post

Great job Barb, we love your chocolate!

10 02 2011
Valentine’s Day Gift Guide « Sweet Iced Tea

[…] And gentlemen, a gentle reminder… the big day is Monday. So get yourself out to a florist, chocolatier, or jewelry store […]

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