Midwest Chocolate Part 1: Indiana by Proxy
Though I'm making a detour through New York this week, I'm spending most of my summer in the grain-growing, cheese-making heartland of the Midwest. And after muddling through chocolate shops in my cosmopolitan hometown where stressed-out salesladies peddle wares that were imported from somewhere else and parrot corporate message that are almost unbearably defensive and transparent (the Fifth Avenue Cluizel shop, the "World's Best Chocolate Cake"), it occurs to me that places like Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin may be more fertile chocolate grounds as well.
I may well have found this year's Association for the Study of Food and Society conference at Indiana University more fruitful than this jaunt to New York. But the timing was all wrong and I couldn't make it to Bloomington. I didn't want to miss out completely, though, so I asked the various foodie anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and theorists of other stripes on the ASFS listserv for their local chocolate findings and suggestions. And I'm absolutely grateful for their responses.
Here's what my research turned up:
"BLU Boy is the only truly local craftsman of chocolate that I know of in Bloomington. He made a bacon caramel chocolate for a dinner featuring local chefs and bakers that focused on using the entire pig, and the chocolates were delightful."
"Angel B's also makes fantastic cakes and pastries. I stop there for a cup of coffee and a freshly made pastry on mornings when I know I'll need an extra boost."
"Indiana Foodways lists most, if not all, of Indiana Chocolatiers. I hope I do not offend, but they are not really that good."
"Ghyslain in southern Indiana, I believe, makes beautiful artisan-style, hand-painted chocolates. He is originally from Quebec and has a business in chocolate pieces as well as pastries. I ordered and served his raspberry dark chocolate truffles (now called purple passion) at my wedding and they were amazing (in combination with fresh raspberries and lemon curd pound cake)."
"Not exactly Bloomington, Emily, but the next state over: Dan Schreiber in Urbana, Illinois (home to the University of Illinois), is apparently one of only a handful of individuals in this country who process their own cacao beans--and then, of course, he makes artisanal chocolate out of them. See his blog."