Colin Gasko of Rogue Chocolatier makes artisan chocolate from beans to bar in a factory the size of your bedroom. We just saw Gasko in a feature on the new Gourmet website, and we couldn't have been more fascinated by this 22-year-old's quixotic chocolate factory.
See, there are plenty of artisan chocolatiers and small-batch confectioners doing their thing on a small scale, but the process of making chocolate, from beans to the finished thing, is a whole other world. It usually requires equipment that costs more than a Manhattan penthouse, and takes up at least equal floorspace. Enter Colin Gasko, son of a theoretical physicist... Gasko got his start working at Whole Foods and in other food establishments and became fascinated with chocolate. He started tinkering with machines to see if he could tweak them to suit the long, complicated chocolate-making process (one of the machines he uses started its life making dosa flour from lentils). His dad, a physicist, talked through some of the science with him, and his bedtime reading consisted of obscure chocolate technical manuals.
In the end he found a way, seemingly by magic, to make two very, very good bars of chocolate. One was described, rather fancifully, as massive on the palate, offering notes of walnut, aged peat-smoked whiskey, sourdough toast, bacon, blackberry, and currant liqueur. Whoa. Gasko does not even own a car, so he and his buddy deliver his final product by bike to the handful of Minneapolis stores and restaurants that carry it.
We haven't tried his chocolate yet, but plan to as soon as we can get our hands on some. The sheer willpower and ingenuity it takes to produce this - something that only a handful of companies in the whole world do - is amazing. We're keeping an eye on Rogue Chocolatier.
You can buy his two bars through his website.
(Image credit: Jana Freiband for for Minneapolis City Pages)