When I was a kid, there was no better place to go than my Grandmother's house in Philly. Her house wasn't just filled with the typical "Grandma's House" child-spoiling cupcake supply. Her house was full of chocolate! I'm talking hand-dipped marshmallows, honeycomb candies, bittersweet nuts, and orange buttercreams - you name it! It was a child's dream.
It wasn't until much later that I really learned the history behind the 'Family Sweet-Tooth'. I learned that my Great, Great, Great Uncle Al was a candy-maker by trade. He worked for Wunderlee's Candy Company in Philadelphia, PA. Taking after him, my Great Grandmother, Mabel, made her living as a chocolatier for Mr. Wannamaker, in his famed department store. For many years, Mabel would only share her secrets with her daughter, Mary. The two of them cooked up the most marvelous confectionary concoctions imaginable.
When I was 19 years old, my mother, her sister, and I traveled to Philadelphia to learn from the Master. We watched, taking careful notes, as she showed us how to temper the chocolate by hand; how to test it; how to work it; even how to taste it. She showed us how to make her famous buttercreams on a cold stone table. We even learned how to coat the pieces and finish with that perfect swirl on top. "You're a Natural!" she said to me. "Your Great Grandmother would be proud."
That was almost 20 years ago, and I have only scratched the surface of the glorious world of confections! There's so much more to discover.
I'll keep you posted.