The Perfection of Chocolate

Ludwig in his studio

Ludwig in his chocolate studio, overseeing a batch of fine chocolate

When asked what his favourite chocolate is, Ludwig Ratzinger responds immediately, "Wild chocolate from Bolivia."

Ludwig knows his chocolate. He has visited the farms and co-operatives in South America where he buys his raw chocolate, much of it from trees that have produced the same fruit for hundreds of years, sometimes a thousand years.

"They continue the chocolate variety by grafting an old branch onto a new tree."

Raw chocolate in the pod. The cocoa bean sits inside the sweet pulp.

He is the owner of Fine Chocolate by Ludwig, to which he brings a wealth of experience. His family ran a bakery/pastry business in Bavaria which led Ludwig to a natural interest in the disciplines of baking and pastry-making. After apprenticing in both artforms he moved to Canada, where he worked as a pastry chef at the Chateau Laurier and for the Governor General. He was also an in-demand teacher of cooking and baking throughout the area.

Eventually, Ludwig decided to bring his confectionary skills to chocolate making. "In my chef days we created a meal that had chocolate in every dish, from soup to dessert. I found it fascinating," recalls Ludwig. "I wanted to create my vision of chocolate in different flavours and percentages."

"The important thing to remember about chocolate is that the percentage of cocoa does not relate to sugar content. Very little sugar is used in the creation of artisan chocolate. Sugar, like salt, is used to carry the flavour, not to sweeten the final product. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the stronger the chocolate flavour will be."

"It is also very important to temper the chocolate properly, which gives the characteristic smoothness and fine texture, with no separation of the cocoa butter."

Nothing could be more warm and cozy around the holidays than Ludwig's Winterspice chocolate.

Ludwig has combined his confectionary knowledge with much loved recipes from his native Germany. For instance, his Winterspice 65% cocoa is made with a blend of spices used to flavour honey cake in Germany (Lebkuchen). Ludwig uses his own custom mix of coriander, cardamom, orange and lemon peel, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and nutmeg. Nothing could be more warm and cozy around the holidays than Ludwig's Winterspice chocolate.

For the serious chocolate connoisseur, Ludwig's artisanal chocolate, like Maracaibo Criolait from Venezuela, Cru Sauvage chocolate made of wild, noble cacao beans from Bolivia, or Arriba from Ecuador, carry a noted terroir that he describes in detail on his website. And Ludwig practices Fair Trade with his sources, often times paying more than the prices set by the Fair Trade standard.

For Foodsmiths Ludwig has developed some wonderful chocolate stocking stuffers embossed with a Christmas tree and greetings in different languages, sure to please the chocolate lover. Or treat a favourite friend, co-worker, hostess, or teacher with this chocolate bar perfect for gift giving.

There is a Ludwig chocolate bar for every price point and taste preference.

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