The Artist Date is a dream-child of Julia Cameron, helping readers learn how to become a better writer. We’ve discussed her book, The Artist’s Way, and highly recommend both the book and the weekly date. An Artist Date can be life-changing. It can open your creativity like nothing else. Today, lean in to stir some chocolate.
My kitchen is covered in chocolate. Not the blender exploded and covered the walls, cabinets and ceiling kind of covered; I mean that everywhere you look are chocolates, each covered in some way.
I’m making truffles.
On one countertop a chocolate pot is carefully bringing dark chocolate up to the melting point. I stir in an ounce of heavy cream. The cream makes a spiral arm like a galaxy against the dark of the chocolate. The bold, dark silky smell of chocolate with a hint of raspberry permeates the kitchen. I continue to add cream and Chambord until the chocolate has the consistency somewhere between chocolate syrup and frosting with a smooth finish. When the concoction is perfectly blended it will be poured into the truffle molds to await a quick freeze to set the chocolate.
In the freezer, an orange truffle mold filled with Key Lime truffles is ticking down the minutes until one of my friends, drafted as a chocolate apprentice, takes them out of the freezer, pops them out of their molds and places them on a rack to be inspected for flaws. Any found to have large air bubbles or cracks will be immediately eaten by my helpers to save the embarrassment of selling an inferior truffle this weekend—one of the perks of volunteering.
On another countertop, truffles of various flavors—Chambord, Grand Marnier and Amaretto—await final decoration before they are set aside to dry. White chocolate has been melted in a smaller chocolate pot and colored candy oil has been added to produce a bright, edible, decorative color. Each truffle has its signature color, and considering I am in the process of making 700-800 truffles to sell at an Art Festival this weekend, it’s important to keep the flavors straight. This batch is African Violet purple. We top Chambord truffles with a small pink dollop, Grand Marnier with orange, Amaretto with violet, and Key Lime truffles with a strip of lime green.
As I look around my kitchen and dining room, I see rack upon rack of truffles to be boxed. One of the merits of starting a company as a “cottage industry” is you can use your own kitchen as a production area and your dining room table as your assembly line. In my dining room, two of my assistants are assembling candy boxes and putting candy papers inside them. On the day of the Art Festival, we’ll assemble orders on the spot.
Want six dark chocolate with Chambord? No problem. Three Key Lime and three Milk Chocolate with Amaretto? Absolutely! Can’t make up your mind and want to try one of everything? We can make it happen. Unlike most businesses, if we are rained out or some other disaster befalls us this weekend, we can eat our inventory.
How to become a better writer? Browse Artist Dates for inspiration, then head out on your own.
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- Eating and Drinking Poems: May Swenson’s “Strawberrying” - August 8, 2014