Sunday morning, Ballard Farmers Market: I sidle up to Trevani Truffles and Bombonsand explain that Voracious is introducing a new column about local artisans. I see that they are chocolatiers here, and I was just wondering...
And they're already halfway there. Owner Annie Boyington and her daughter Eva are busy slicing a flight of treats for me to sample: first, the mild white chocolate coconut; next, their classic chocolate truffle; then their Finn River blackcurrant wine and fennel seed bombon; and finally their vegan "cherry bomb," made from Rockridge Orchards Cherry Schnapps and cashew cream. For good measure, they cap it all off with a bit of ginger chocolate bar.
They had me before they'd even explained the best way to enjoy chocolate. The same could happen to you.
Boyington sources her chocolate from Ecuador and Venezuela (primarily from an organic co-op supporting local families) and gets her flavorings locally: dairy from Seabreeze Farm, Golden Glen Creamery, and Willapa Cheese; peppers from River Farm; cherries from Tonnemaker's; alcohols from Finn River and Rockridge Orchards.
She first sought out South American chocolate because it's "the birthplace of cacao," and hasn't strayed because she still finds it to be best. She calls her fancier dipped chocolates bombons to honor their Venezuelan spelling and pronunciation.
Her flavorings, however, must be local for her. "I like to do business with people I have relationships with," she says, gesturing toward Seabreeze Farm behind her, and Finn River to the right. "I love this community so much. Everyone is free with help and their knowledge, and it's a really nice thing to be around."
Even if Boyington gets a storefront in the future (she has applied for an art space facility in Mt. Baker), she wants to stay at farmers markets. You can find her in the University District on Saturdays, in Ballard on Sundays, and at the Phinney Ridge and Renton markets when they reopen in May. Of the 25 flavors of chocolates she has developed so far, she brings about 12 to each market.
"I think chocolate deserves its own time and moment," she says. "It's complicated enough that you don't want anything else with it."
Even if you can't wait to dash home and savor the chocolates you've chosen, kindly request a sample, for this is Boyington's favorite part.
"I really love when people make yummy sounds when they eat the chocolate in front of you," she says. "That's the best part."