‘Sweet’ chocolate demo begins Keystone Culinary Festival Friday | SummitDaily.com

‘Sweet’ chocolate demo begins Keystone Culinary Festival Friday

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

Ned Archibald is the perfect example of a person whose passion spills over – both literally and figuratively.

Friday afternoon, his enthusiasm for teaching people about working with chocolate – as well as offering more than generous portions and varieties of the sweet stuff – led him to turn his two-hour demo into what could’ve easily been a three-hour event. And, had people not needed to leave after about two-and-a-half hours with Archibald for their martini tastings and other Culinary Festival events, he would’ve still been in his kitchen tucked away in the Keystone Conference Center, joyfully showing everyone how to create chubby-cheeked Easter bunnies, edible roses or chocolate-covered strawberries.

“I was hoping I had enough stuff to fill two hours,” Archibald said at 4 p.m., when the demo was scheduled to end and he still had at least two more projects to sink into.

“You always do this,” replied his long-time assistant Victor Caldera, with a smile.

“Do you wanna eat chocolate-covered strawberries?” Archibald asked the group, as he laughed with Caldera.

Needless to say, Caldera began dipping, then passing out, strawberries, and Archibald launched into his chocolate bunny making demonstration.

The session ultimately ended by digging into his chocolate creme brulee, which he instructed how to make (after he demonstrated making ganache and truffles).

The time flew by, as Archibald told a few personal tales (“I don’t like chocolate,” he said. “I grew up in bakeries. That cures you.”); provided plenty of information – both technical and informal – about creating chocolate delights; and answered questions, from what brand and kind of chocolate to use to “what is your biggest disaster story?”

Though his disaster story doesn’t involve chocolate, he warns against the stuff: In the 14-page packet he gave participants – brimming with recipes and detailed information – he wrote: “Chocolate is like a ‘difficult’ personality. A successful working relationship depends on knowing why it behaves as it does and how to make it work for you.”

So in his demo, he set out to teach both hard-core bakers (of which there were about five in the room of 20 or so people) and simple chocolate lovers the dos and don’ts when making ganache, chocolate-covered strawberries, modeling chocolate, creme brulee and more.

“I don’t know about you, but I got my $15 worth,” said Leadville resident Al Slavin to his buddy. That’s when I butted in, asking if I could quote his unbidden line. “Truthfully, it’s much more than I expected to get,” he added.

For a few minutes, I debated whether or not I should publicly point out, in my story, what a killer deal these $15 demos are at the Keystone Culinary Festival. “Will they raise their prices next year if I do?” I thought to myself. “Should I just remain silent about the incredible – actually ridiculous – value these culinary demos and tastings are?” (These are the dilemmas of an arts and entertainment editor.) Finally, my commitment to the reader won out: I must tell everyone to get their taste buds over to Keystone this weekend, I decided.

So here I am, writing a review on a one-time deal, which I rarely do, because, after all, if you missed it, you missed it, right?

Well, not quite, in this case. Yes, you’ll have to wait until next year for Archibald’s demo. But today, $15 deals include champagne tastings and spa samplings. Sunday, Keystone spokesperson Justine C. Spence promises the kids’ cooking class will be “amazing.”

And tonight, at the Grand Tasting at The Outpost, you can meet Archibald in person, and not only get a plateful (or two, or three) of his phenomenal sweets, but also get a taste of his passion.

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