Texas Two-Step, Chocolate-Style


 
 


Calvert: CocoaModa

Renowned chef and chocolatier Ken Wilkinson says he is fulfilling his dream of creating the best chocolate experience in the world—in Texas. After five years of planning, Wilkinson has opened CocoaModa in the preserved 19th century downtown of Calvert. On the north edge of the Bryan-College Station area, the town is about 100 miles northeast of Austin. The CocoaModa complex includes a factory and a boutique and restaurant in an early 20th century building that once housed a bank.

Wilkinson trained as a chef in Switzerland and worked for restaurants in Lucerne and London and catered for the Royal Family. Later he studied under the famous chocolatier Eric Berger, whose intricate secret recipes would be lost to the world, says Wilkinson, had he not “pinched them one by one.” In the 1980’s Wilkinson moved to Houston, where he hosted Cable Cookery, a television show making classical French cuisine accessible to everyday cooks. He married and started a family and made Texas his home.

The Valrhona couverture for his confections is made to Wilkinson’s specific recipe by the French company. Premium ingredients include almonds from Spain, saffron and pistachios from Iran, hazelnuts from Oregon, Swiss frais de bois, and milk and cream from grass-fed Guernsey cows.

Besides tasting the chocolate, visitors to CocoaModa can observe the chocolate-making process. Behind the 19th century brick front of the building Wilkinson has designed a state-of-the-art factory where heat and humidity are carefully controlled to ensure quality. Windows offer a peek into melting vats of chocolate, cooling trays and conveyor belts where the confections are finished and packaged.

Visit www.cocoamoda.com

 

Houston: Crave Cupcakes

Chocoholics can enjoy their favorite cupcakes at Crave Cupcakes in the Uptown Park shopping area near the Galleriea. Flavors include Candy Bar, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Expresso, Chocolate on Vanilla, Crave Chocolate and Crème, Crave Mint Chocolate, Dar Chocolate, Nutella, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Vanilla on Chocolate and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut.

Crave is owned by filmmakers Elizabeth Harrison and Peter Cooper and restaurant expert Brad Dorsey—all Houston natives. Harrison conceived the shop while she was filming a move, Love and Mary, in her hometown. She worked with her mother to adjust beloved family recipes to eliminate hydrogenated fats and preservatives.

“Each recipe has been thoroughly tested,” says Harrison. “We don’t offer anything that we don’t love ourselves.” The Nutella version and the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut are her favorites, she says. The cupcakes are made throughout the day to ensure freshness. Custom blended micro roast house coffee and vintage sodas, such and Dublin Dr. Pepper and Mexicola Coca Cola are also served.

Visit www.cravecupcakes.com

 

Edited by Patricia D. Sherman

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