MY OUTLOOK: Kim Leiterman, Artisan Chocolatier
How long have you been working with chocolate?
CocoFlow started in April of 2003. We are just shy of 13 years.
What got you started in chocolate?
We saw a chocolate fountain at a trade show in 2003. It was a fairly new concept at that time. We recognized the potential and thought to ourselves, what a great side business—renting chocolate fountains for events. It was always meant to be additional income—we both held full time jobs. Within weeks we had two chocolate fountains, a name and a new catering business. As our business evolved we recognized a niche in OKC that needed to be filled.
What’s your favorite kind of chocolate?
65% Felchlin Madagascar Dark. It is a single origin chocolate with a hint of vanilla.
What’s the most common type of chocolate that you make?
We are best known for our hand-rolled Truffles. They were the first line of chocolates that we developed and they are still the most popular and requested item.
What is the most unique type of chocolate you sell?
That is a hard question to answer. We experiment with different flavor profiles and combinations all the time—that’s the fun part of being an artisan chocolatier. We also work with single origin and single plantation chocolates.
How many kinds of chocolate treats do you make? What are they?
We have five basic product lines: hand-rolled truffles, bon-bons, pralines, bars and molded pieces.
Which is the most difficult to make?
Making chocolates is a process. That process is more elaborate for us because we do everything by hand. So all of our items are a challenge but the most difficult are the bon-bons. A single batch can take up to three days to complete.
How many kinds of chocolate are there?
The answer to that question would take a separate article. These days it’s not just about percentage of cocoa; it’s about organic, region, plantation. Chocolate has as many differentials as wine.
What influences you when creating chocolate?
We are influenced by flavors, colors and current ideas in food and fashion.
Where do you get your chocolate from?
We mainly use Belgian and Swiss couverture chocolate along with single origin chocolate from many different regions.
How is it different than grocery store chocolate?
It is an artisan product using only the finest couverture chocolate, intense flavors and hand-painted colors. Each piece is a unique work of art.
How do you make your chocolate sculptures?
We use several techniques to construct each individual piece. Believe it or not it often involves items from the hardware store. The process is the same as any other sculpture—we have an idea, which we translate to a drawing, and we base our sculpture off the sketch.
Why do people give chocolate on Valentine’s Day?
Chocolate has always been a luxury item, often given as gifts or tributes to royalty. It was “food of the Gods.” And of course it was also considered to be an aphrodisiac, the Aztecs even served it at wedding ceremonies. The luxury and the lust of chocolate made it a popular choice for expressions of admiration, but it was the Victorian adoration of courtly love that propelled chocolates popularity as a Valentine’s Day gift. In 1861 Cadbury introduced the first heart shaped box filled with chocolates and a tradition was born.
What’s your most unique special order you’ve done?
We did a size 18 chocolate sneaker for the Hornets when they were located in OKC. We also made life-size chocolate soccer balls for the MLS tournament in Kansas City.
Learn more about CocoFlow by calling 524-9500 or visiting cocoflow.com.