MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Few foods fit in the category of “just about everyone loves that.” But chocolate is one of those treats.
Next Sunday, you can attend an annual event in the Twin Cities that’s a chocolate lover’s dream. It’s the 16th Annual “Taste of Chocolate” in Bloomington.
And it’s more than just a sampling of sweet treats, it is a competition and a fundraiser, as well.
This week in Finding Minnesota, meet one of the chefs who is competing. He’s 23-year-old Kevin Lindee of Columbia Heights.
Lindee works full-time as a pastry chef, but his true calling is that of a chocolatier.
He showed us what it takes to make truffles — the heating and cooling of the chocolate to improve the texture, flavor and appearance of it.
It actually looked like a hot mess, but it turned out to be the beginning of something fabulous.
Lindee poured melted chocolate out of a bowl and on to a granite countertop and then went to work on it with stainless steel tools that stirred it around.
“As you can see, it is getting a little thicker versus what it was when I poured it down. It’s looking closer to fudge,” he said.
Lindee is a perfectionist when it comes to making truffles.
“I can’t have it any higher than 88 degrees, at 89, it’s possible that it’s decrystalized. At 90 degrees I have to start completely all over,” he said.
Fresh out of culinary school, he already has his own company — Ganache: Truffles for Every Occasion.
Lindee sells his chocolates online, to people all around the world.
And in a week, he will be competing for bragging rights in the 16th Annual Taste of Chocolate at the Bloomington Center for the Arts.
This will be his third time participating but he said every year is different for him.
“I have been planning this for six months, literally. Getting everything done down to the little details, to plating, to all the final preparations,” he said.
About 12 other chefs and chocolatiers will be competing at the Taste this year and that means visitors to the Taste will get quite a mouthful.
Susan Anderson is one of the organizers of the Taste of Chocolate.
She said the sweetest part of the Taste is that it raises a lot of money for some of the performing arts groups in Bloomington, including a children’s choir called Angelica Cantanti, the Continental Ballet Company, Note-able Singers and Bloomington Chorale.
“The money goes to fund those programs. It buys music, it pays for directors, it pays for accompanists, and it pays rent for the space,” she said.
It’s a clever way to take something that tastes good to do good.
Lindee has two entries this time around — a truffle and a cake — both filled with roasted pineapple and cilantro.
His competition includes chefs from McCormick and Schmick’s, Patisserie Margo and Jason’s Deli.
The event is next Sunday, March 13 at the Bloomington Center for the Arts. It runs from 1 to 5 p.m.