CHOCOLATES A LA MODE
By David Hochman
Valerie Confections feels more homegrown, but certainly no less delicious. Inside the unadorned storefront on a forgotten strip just south of Silver Lake, principal owner Valerie Gordon shows off her creations. There’s a petit four dipped in white chocolate and topped with a candied rose petal from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. Her smoke-and-spice truffles- a brand new addition-features smoked chipotles. Then there’s the company’s trademark treat: Almond Fleur de Sel Toffee, originally designed and refined version of an LA classic. “It’s my homage to See’s Candies’ Victoria Toffee,” says Gordon.
Gordon perfectly fits the profile of the new LA chocolatier. Entirely self-taught, industrious, and inventive, she favors unorthodox experiments over fussy tradition. “My goal is to retire any precious notions about chocolate and just make it taste phenomenal,” she says. Lately she’s been collaborating with Commune Design on presentations as artful-and groovy- as they are tasty. Super Choc-O-Food is a set of oversized chocolate bars (loaded with cashews, peanuts, golden raisins, dried pears, caramel, and more) packaged in retro-chic, space-age foil wraps.Three graphic inserts combine to form psychedelic image of Adam and Eve with the message: chocolate is a divine celestial drink, the sweat of the stars, the vital seed, divine nectar, the drink of the gods, panacea and universal medicine. Trippy, right? But then we taste it. All I can say is, “Like, wow, man!”