On this week's Shop Small Saturday Showcase, I have an absolutely delicious feature for you from Marco Paolo Chocolates! After meeting Mark at Artisanal LA, I was immediately excited to share these tiny works of edible art with you all. Not only do the chocolates look gorgeous, the flavors are just as beautiful.
And lucky, lucky you... Mark is giving you the chance to win a Sense-venture nine piece collection of truffles! Not only that, he is offering a promo to all of my readers, so make sure to stay tuned for that at the end of the post.
First, make sure to check out all the gorgeous chocolates below and find out which chocolate is Mark's peppery favorite!
Tell me a little bit about yourself!
My name is Mark Lewis, chocolate artisan and founder of Marco Paolo Chocolates. I have been a life-long connoisseur of fine chocolates and wanted meld his passion for creating flavor harmony in unique ways with my obsession for chocolate. The result is a line of paired chocolate ganache truffles that extend the experience of one of life’s most universal pleasures; the joy and comfort of chocolate indulgence.
My personal exploration and development of unique flavor profiles has been years in the making, and it is a continuing process full of excitement and discovery.
Making chocolate truffles was inspired by my infatuation with a Scotch Bonnet truffle, discovered at a new French style chocolate confectionary and pastry shop in my neighborhood. The now defunct chocolatier made one particularly luscious, not too sweet, but deceivingly spicy tiny morsel that melted in your mouth and left a lasting tingling impression, which was surprisingly distinctive from the others that lacked prominent flavors. These Scotch Bonnet truffles were very small and expensive, so I decided to try and make my own version in a size that fit my cravings. The results were good on first attempt and improved with each trial. After learning all I could from books with many successes and failures working chocolate and formulating recipes, I took a series of classes at the famed Chocolate Academy in Chicago with well-known French chocolatiers. There, my previous trials and tribulations permitted me to soak up the knowledge instantly. I then returned home to practice and further expand my culinary horizons.
Where did the name of your store come from?
Marco Paolo came from my name Mark and my partner's name Paul. We thought that the adventurous tasting journey our chocolate truffles take you on, which we call a sense-venture, is a tip of the hat to the famous explorer Marco Polo.
Why did you start making goods for Marco Paolo Chocolates?
I had been making chocolate truffles for several fund raising events and was asked by friends and friends of friends to make them for their special occasions. Eventually, I decided to make it a business.
What is your favorite item?
I don't have a favorite since all the flavor combinations had to appeal to me for them to be available for the public. However, I am very proud of my Red Berry with Pink Peppercorn and Mint, as well as, my first success with the Pomegranate with Aged Balsamic.
What is your most popular item?
I have tried to calculate which is the most popular truffle, but ended up with a three-way tie; Morello Cherry & Chevre, Coconut Cilantro with Lime, and Elderberry & Lavender.
Where do you get the inspiration for your work?
My inspiration comes from seeing what other "foodies" and creative chefs are making, and also coming up with flavor combinations that strike me unusual, but might possibly work with chocolate.
What makes your store unique?
We specialize in two-layered chocolate truffles pairing complimentary yet contrasting flavors that create a unique savoring experience.
What is the toughest part about making your goods?
Finding the patience to do the meticulous work required to create the look and taste of our products.
Where can I see more of your work and buy a gift?
Marco Paolo Chocolates are available on our website, as well as Wally's Wines, Vicente Foods, Chocolate Opulence, and The Bea's Knees.
Now, you can see how beautiful these chocolates are, right? Well, I simply adore the flavor combinations and you can try lots of flavors in your very own sense-venture collection. In fact, Mark is offering $5 off one of these collections by entering the promo code VINTAGEZEST. Score!
Even more delicious would be winning a box in the giveaway below, so make sure to enter in the widget below.