The saying “One can never be too rich or too skinny” needs a redo, how about “One can never to be too rich or have enough chocolate”! Personally, it works for me because being skinny is not an option. But being hot for chocolate is! An invitation to the private launch of Valenza Chocolatier, Orange County’s newest artisan chocolate and confections company, had me reworking my schedule and exchanging tickets for a different night at the theatre so I wouldn’t miss it. And I don’t want you to miss this Valenza’s chocolate heaven either – that’s why I’m sharing, cuz I’m nice like that 🙂
Here’s the backstory: Founder, Amy Jo Pedone is a Certified Chocolatier through Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts, yes there is such an entity. I bet they have a long wait list, too. Besides that lofty designation, she acquired a BA in Finance in her earlier days and left a successful 13-year career in Commercial Real Estate Lending to follow her chocolate passion professionally. Amy Jo is a sweetheart of a person whose ebullient nature and big smile speak to how excited she is at having her passion and hard work realized in Valenza Chocolatier.
Valenza’s gleaming chocolate bonbons and luscious bars come in an array of unique titillating flavors: Spumoni (the stunning emerald jewels pictured in the collage above), Limoncello, and Espresso bonbons; Bourbon, PB & C (peanut butter and caramel!) and Sesamo bars. Add to this assortment, three amazing confections – Fig, Turtles and Caramello, the invited guests were swooning.
Above are the Turtle (dark chocolate filled with creamy caramel, sea salt & roasted pecans), Certified Chocolatier Amy Jo Pedone, the Caramello (dark chocolate filled with organic cream & sweet butter caramel topped with Fleur de Sel sea salt), and the Fig (a plump Calimyrna fig stuffed with a roasted almond & sliver of lemon peel). Chocolatier Amy Jo Pedone, the Caramello with Fleur de Sel, and the Fig. Photo by the amazing Anne Watson of Anne Watson Photography.
When asked what was my favorite, I was inclined to savor a couple selections a second time in order to decide that the Bourbon bar of 61% Venezuelan dark chocolate encasing a rich milk chocolate ganache infused with the heady oak notes of Maker’s Mark bourbon won my heart – and I’m usually not a bourbon ball fan. Valenza’s Bourbon bars are accented with eye-catching splashes of crimson and would be a perfect complement to a snifter of aged bourbon. I was tempted to sneak the tiny cup of bourbon in the display and hope no one would notice, but I resisted and satisfied my craving later at home 🙂
To waffle a bit, I’ve never cared for white chocolate or considered it to be real chocolate, but I’m drawn to citrus flavors and Valenza’s Limoncello bonbon with its superb balance of sweet and tart was the most alluring white chocolate ever to melt in my mouth.
Oh, desire! How can you get hold of some of these made-to-order delectable chocolates? Created in one of the sparkling kitchens at The Hood Kitchen Space in Costa Mesa, you can place your order directly with Amy Jo at (949)-891 or, for wholesale inquiries, email her at: [email protected] Connect with Valenza Chocolatier on Facebook and Twitter.
True Love in Chocolate: Valenza Chocolatier
If you are in town this Memorial Weekend, visit Williams-Sonoma at their Crystal Cove location for their Artisan’s Market featuring Valenza Chocolatier along with Artisan Candle Company, Bistro Blends, Drake Family Farms and others to taste, learn and experience their products firsthand. Saturday, May 25th from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.