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From Pod, to Fermented and Roasted Nibs to Finished Bonbons

Featured Article

The Conche's Chocolatiers Make it Look Easy

Patience & Skill Forge Luscious Creations

Article by Melinda Gipson

Photography by Neil Steinberg

Originally published in Leesburg Lifestyle

Making chocolate looks easy, until you’ve tried it. I did, thinking The Conche’s monthly chocolate making class would be a great backdrop for both Loudoun YMCA’s annual fundraiser, “Chocolates Galore and More” (Feb. 28 at Lansdowne Resort), and of course, Valentine’s Day. Needless to say, I got schooled.

Simply making chocolate shavings for truffles and decorations for bonbons provided a valuable lesson in how heat (“tempering"), humidity, thickness, mixing and overall patience contributes to the quality of chocolate. Says Master Chocolatier Sara Dobson, “Chocolate is very complex and it takes a lot of practice to get everything right.”

Basic Truffle Recipe


  • Cream                          116 grams
  • Dark Chocolate            168 grams
  • Butter                             46 grams
  • Honey                            15 grams
  1. Heat cream and honey together.
  2. Pour over melted chocolate in thirds while stirring.
  3. Add softened room-temperature butter and mix until smooth silk emulsion forms. 

Executive Pastry Chef Kathleen Faliskie advises: “The colder your hands, the more spherical you can make your truffles.”

The Conche is named for the process of mixing chocolate for a prolonged period at a precise heat. The same precision produces great dinner, brunch and cocktails. Chocolate making classes may be customized to any event or age.

  • Advanced Chocolate Confections Are Not for the Faint of Heart... or the Impatient
  • Master Chocolatier Sara Dobson
  • From Pod, to Fermented and Roasted Nibs to Finished Bonbons