— EGGLESTON —
By JAMIE PARSELL-NULL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
EGGLESTON, Va. — What happens when you combine a chocoholic restaurant owner with a chocolatier at the Palisades Restaurant ? You get hand-crafted solid dark and milk chocolate bars in a range of holiday flavors like gingerbread spice, peppermint and sour cherry.
It takes pastry chef Devin Giles more than five hours to make the gourmet chocolate.
“Start to finish, for me, if I make between 50-60 bars takes five to six hours,” Giles said.
Giles studied chocolate-making at DCT University of Switzerland after graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania Academy of Culinary Arts. Her inspiration was her pastry chef Urs Meichtry in Switzerland.
“He taught me everything,” she said.
In turn, Giles is helping the Palisades expand their culinary offerings by creating a signature line of gourmet chocolates.
Shaena Mouldoon, the owner of the restaurant, said chocolate-making was a natural expansion of the brand.
“I always say that we are more than just a restaurant and I wanted to have a product that showcased our philosophy of quality food and fun. Having Devin here solidified the idea that chocolate was going to be that product.” Mouldoon said.
Giles, also a former pastry team member of the Inn at Little Washington, said the chocolate-making process is extensive.
“Making chocolate requires attention to detail,” she said. “If you don’t polish the molds correctly you’ll have streaks in chocolate. If you are even two degrees off when tempering the chocolate your molds won’t release the chocolate. If you don’t brush the molds with a layer of chocolate before you fill them all the way, you will have air bubbles that form. All of these little factors are what sets superb chocolate apart from mediocre.”
For the holidays, Giles prefers dark chocolate or milk chocolate gingerbread. Mouldoon likes the peppermint chocolate in milk and dark. But what about the cherry-flavored chocolate?
“Contrasting flavors often go well together — sweet and sour, salty and sweet, sweet and spicy,” Mouldoon said. “They balance each other out but also reveal hidden flavor profiles within one another.”
Right now, current chocolate trends include chocolate and salted caramel, chocolate and chili.
“An interesting new trend is single origin chocolates. They have a very distinct flavor profile. Organic chocolates and bean-to-bar businesses are popping up as well,” Mouldoon said.
In the future, Giles hopes to create new flavors, including a praline line.
“These chocolates will portray flavors of regions from around the world, countries that tell my and Shaena’s story. We are so excited to share that with people,” Giles said.
She learned about chocolate by studying the start — the tree.
“From there, you learn how and where it grows, you learn how it is harvested and manufactured. Then working with the chocolate begins,” she added.
The chocolate is available at the restaurant located in Eggleston. For more information, call 540-250-3337 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.