Loving Up on Chocolate
A local chef who studied in the world capital of chocolate confections offers up divine treats in time for Valentine's Day.
- story by Lisa Monti, photography by Julie Ragusa
Ragusa took advantage of being in the middle of that chocolate-rich culture as part of her professional development. “I learned everything I could about chocolate,” she said, including making a vegan, organic version. She formed her own small chocolate company and hosted parties, pairing chocolates with wine and champagne, and taught classes on chocolate-making with dairy alternatives.
Now, she’s about to branch out into truffle-making as a side enterprise. The truffles come in two rich parts: a chocolate ganache center and a coating of high quality chocolate that gives it a crunchy shell. Then the truffle is topped with nuts, coconut or sea salt, taking it to another eye-rolling level.
“I’m so excited about working with chocolate,” she said. “I love coming up with new flavors.”
For Valentine’s Day, the Mockingbird will have red velvet cake, heart-shaped King cakes and a double chocolate cake topped with chocolate truffles. Chef Ragusa personally will be making and selling handmade chocolate truffles in an assortment of flavors for purchase through her Facebook page or via Mockingbird Cafe. Look for prices and varieties to be posted soon.
Julie's truffles are available in packages of 8 (2 of each flavor below) for $15 (plus tax). Order one day in advance (before Feb. 12 for Valentine's Day pick-up) on Chef Julie Ragusa's Facebook page or at the Mockingbird Café, 110 S. Second Street. Orders can be picked up at the Mockingbird Café.
Buttermilk Ganache (semi- sweet)
Cafe Olé (milk chocolate)
Darkest Hour (60% dark)
Black and White (white chocolate ganache with 60% dark shell)