The Chocolate Man opens a retail store at LFP Towne Centre

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Did someone say “chocolate”?
What's not to love?  Photo by Victoria Rhoades, ND

When I met up with Bill Fredericks, chocolatier, he was busily painting his new retail outlet in Lake Forest Park, upstairs at the Towne Center in a strip of retail stores between Ross and the Lake Forest Park Grill. In fact, his whole family was there, painting, cleaning, and preparing to move in furniture and equipment.

High end chocolates have 30% less sugar than commercial chocolates
Photo by Vicki Rhoades

When complete, Mr. Fredericks will make his own high-end chocolate for sale. He opened his doors last weekend on November 19th – perfect timing to buy special gifts or to prepare for the holiday table. 

Although his kitchen is still undergoing completion, he is selling products from other local chocolatiers. He also sells chocolate and equipment for home candymaking, and he has DVDs for sale on the art of making confections.

Even though he has worked for 30 years as a research oceanographer at the University of Washington, Mr. Fredericks has a long history in the food industry as well, starting by putting himself through school as a cook. He and his wife got into chocolate-making when they decided to start making holiday gifts about 22 years ago – starting with fruitcake one year (no one ate it), hot mustard (too hot for most people), and finally hit on homemade chocolates and truffles (a huge hit!). They’ve been making truffles ever since.

Photo by Victoria Rhoades, ND
Since then, he’s advanced to teach the art of chocolate-making at several locations, including North and South Seattle Community Colleges, the Blue Ribbon Cooking school, and others. He is the current president of the Northwest Chocolatier’s Guild.

What does he specialize in? “High end truffles” was his immediate response. He explained the technical aspect of truffle-making, which involves softening the chocolate with butter or cream.

The Chocolate Man
Photo by V. Rhoades
He works with premium couverture grade chocolate, which is higher in cocoa butter. If you start with cheaper beans, you can over-roast them (burn them, really), then add lots of sugar to compensate for the bitterness. Since sugar is cheaper than cocoa, this is a cost-effective way to make cheap chocolate. Since he starts with a quality chocolate, he needs to use less sugar. A cheap chocolate bar might be 80% sugar, while his chocolates are about 50% sugar (although some are less).

Besides truffles, he also sells wholesale to other candy manufacturers,

I am told by bona fide chocoholics, that his confections are satisfying and tasty. I wish him all the best.

Chocolate Man, Bill Fredericks, owner. 16580 35th Ave NE, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155. T: 206-365-2025; 

Post script: I served up confections from his shop as an after-dinner treat to guests last night – they loved it! I look forward to many years of visiting his shop. I may even try chocolate-making for myself.


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