February 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm , by Ron Kelly
Do recipes with names like Milk Chocolate Chai Mousse, Molten Cupcakes and Coconut Chocolate Granita (pictured) grab your attention? Have you drooled on your computer yet? If so, you’re my kind of people.
As someone who considers chocolate a major food group, I was intrigued by the concept of the Dove Chocolate Discoveries direct selling program, which enables women to become professional chocolatiers. They prepare, share and sell Dove chocolate treats, candy-making ingredients and kits, adult and family-friendly beverages, and more, all while gathering and entertaining with others who go cuckoo for all things cocoa. We at LHJ were even treated to a sample party last month, and I must come clean that I have just today kicked my Sea-Salted Caramel Collection habit that started that night. (Although I do have Dr. Drew on speed dial, just in case.)
What intrigued a lot of us here, though, was the lifestyle of a chocolatier. I mean, next to “rock star,” it’s possibly one of the coolest-sounding job titles around. So we followed up with one of our hostesses, Lisa Pagano, to get the inside scoop.
Lisa Pagano, Blairstown, N.J.
How would you define “chocolatier”?
I bring people together in a fun, social environment and show them different, delicious ways to enjoy chocolate. I get to play and work in chocolate. How great is that?
What drew you to becoming a chocolatier?
First of all, I absolutely love chocolate! Also, I have three young children (Francesca, 11, Alex, 7, and Gabriella, 5) and a husband who commutes a long distance (75 minutes each way). I wanted a job that was flexible so I could still be there for my family. Running my own business enables me to work around my family and that’s important to me. And it is a ton of fun—and really delicious.
What’s your favorite part about the job?
I love the social aspects of our chocolate tasting parties, where we demonstrate our amazing drinks and desserts. I also love the mentor role I play to my team members. Being a chocolatier allows me to connect with other women, which, as a stay at home mom, is so important to me.
So, what’s the hardest part of the job then?
Honestly, there really isn’t anything hard. I guess keeping up with my housework is hard sometimes when I work a lot! And wanting to have more time in the day to help my team will always be challenging. I get so caught up in my new team members’ individual goals and I want to do everything I can to help them succeed.
What item do you find it hardest to keep in your house because of the temptation?
Dark chocolate in any form. It’s my absolute favorite. I also love our Truffle Fudge Brownies.
What’s the most unique recipe you’ve ever made using chocolate?
I’m an it’s-5 p.m.-and-I-need-to-decide-what-to-make-for-supper kind of cook! I’m not someone who spends hours in the kitchen. That said, I do make a roast pork with a cocoa rub that’s quite delicious. I use real cocoa powder and lots of different herbs and spices. Then I rub the mixture all over the roast and cook it in the oven. It’s easy and so good.
How about wine and chocolate? What’s your favorite pairing?
My motto is “The sweeter the chocolate, the sweeter the wine.” A piece of dark chocolate goes perfectly with white, rose or red wine in my opinion!
In three words, describe your chocolate tasting parties.
Social, decadent and fun!
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