This newsletter is not my review of a movie starring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling but rather a share of the DWN 'bible.' I was inspired to write this newsletter by my friend Tommy Aird, who recently opened a whole-grain bakery in Vancouver. Chefs are notoriously secretive about their recipes, so I thought that I would share a little bit about the brown notebook that is always moving around the factory.
The notebook was a gift from my friend Michelle, and it's where the first six recipes that launched DWN were created. The front few pages include bar mold sizes and the weights for each tumble, followed by recipes transcribed from the craft chocolate class I took with Mackenzie Rivers. I then added tabs for almonds and hazelnuts thinking there were going to be an abundance of nut-based recipes that needed designated sections.
To this day, the recipes for the sesame chocolate chip bar, the cassis cardamon bar and the Earl Grey lavender milk chocolate bar live in the front few pages in their original state. The spine of the notebook is broken where the plain milk chocolate and dark chocolate recipes are written, and these recipes serve as the reference point for all the others. This can be frustrating for my production assistant, as there is no index other than my memory in relation to these two recipes.
If a recipe has gone through numerous variations, there are post-it notes on the pages indicating the evolution of ingredients and ratios. This is essential because a final recipe can become the starting point of a new recipe.
As the company has evolved, so too have the recipes. We started with a few house-made chocolate recipes, which were supported by commercial couverture. I am proud to say that we have grown to the point where the only chocolate we don't make in-house is the white chocolate and sugar-free chocolate (the goal in 2024 is to finally produce our own white chocolate). With the experience and knowledge gained over the last three years, as well as the purchase of larger equipment, the brown notebook is at least two-thirds full.
Are the pages stained with cocoa butter? Absolutely
Have pages dislodged from the spine? Absolutely
Would I be lost without my notebook? Absolutely*
*with the exception of the dark chocolate recipe,
which is committed to memory