This August I attended the Los Angeles Epicurean Fest and was thrilled with a number of different vendors serving up their artisan delights from Gin to Truffles. In the closing of my story on the event I wrote, “And then there was Yvan Valentin of Sweet Temptations Artisan Bakery serving up the most decadently rich white, milk and dark chocolate truffles. Shoot. Me. Now.”
I was able to contact Yvan Valentin and ask him everything I wanted to know about why his rich truffles tasted better and lacked that “waxiness” I had found from others:
- Hello Yvan, please start off by telling our readers how you create your truffles and what flavors you have.
YV: For each recipe I look for the best ingredients so that they blend together. Twenty years ago I won best truffle of the year and that taught me that you can always do better than best. You challenge yourself to win and make the best – and that’s exactly what I do.
My cappuccino truffle is made with both dark and milk chocolate, and cappuccino. The Praline flavor has caramelized toasted hazelnut paste blended with ganache and milk chocolate. I use a little bit of Grand Marnier in the dark chocolate and Cointreau orange liqueur in the white chocolate so the taste is wonderful.
- You also offer true French-style croissants. Please tell readers where they might find them and, how they are made.
YV: I have an entire line of breakfast items that are served in many hotels, airlines, restaurants and by catering companies. How we do it is like this: One person makes the dough in day, then 12 people do the night rolling, then the bread goes through a proofer (A proofer is a room that is kept warm, where we put the bread so yeast get action and rises – which takes many hours) and finally, baking.
- I looked at the cakes on your website – much to grand to bring to the Epicurean Fest! I also noticed that you’ve had a few famous clients. I have to know, one very large design, that I first thought was a Chocolate Mission on your site, isn’t. Tell us about that cake Yvan.
YV: That cake was a special order for President Clinton’s second election in 2000. It was set at train station – Union Square – in downtown in Los Angeles. I spent a lot of time on that cake. It had a sugar-made station and used quite a bit of chocolate. (See photo – it’s a must!)
- Where can we find your products in the Los Angeles area?
YV: Your readers can email me to order, Info@YvanValentin.com, with the subject line reading, “chocolate”, or find my products in Los Angeles area wine stores and specialty stores. If you are staying in one of the nice hotels in Los Angeles…check your pillow at night, you might find my truffle there waiting.
- We were wowed by your chocolate, and we’ve had plenty of chocolate. So, why? What makes you different?
YV: Of course when you want to make a good product you must begin by using top quality ingredients. That means top chocolate. You must have the chocolate, chocolate liqueur and cocoa butter. Too much sugar – too much anything – can equal a crunchy product instead of a smooth one. Chocolate prices range between $2 to $12 a pound just for the raw ingredients. Cocoa butter is also very expensive. And you must have both chocolate liqueur and coca butter for a better taste, and, better result – then the savoir faire.
My goal is to make my own chocolate soon. To make the best chocolate in the world you must use the best cocoa beans from trees grown in Central America. To be able to produce the chocolate here we need to get the beans from the farmer and roast them just like coffee beans.
We are lucky here in California as we are close to the best beans from Central America.
From the website
Our goal is to achieve your complete satisfaction. Our highly experienced pastry chief and chocolatiers make sure all recipes are made following the exact procedure so we can provide you with the highest quality truffles.
We do not use any preservatives or artificial flavorings. All truffles are made with fresh products, and we mix our own selection of chocolates to provide you with the best quality.
Originally from Roanne, France, Patissier/Chocolatier Yvan Valentin worked in the famous Troisgros Restaurant before traveling to Los Angeles in 1984 to serve as pastry chef at the city’s most acclaimed French restaurant, l’Orangerie. After eight years at l’Orangerie, he opened Sweet Temptations, a wholesale bakery and chocolatery. With a reputation for excellence in both quality and service, Sweet Temptations supplies the finest French pastries and artisan chocolates throughout Southern California.
Yvan Valentin chocolate products are widely distributed in the hotel industry as well as catering companies and specialty food stores. His truffles won many awards and are distributed worldwide.
Yvan Valentin was awarded “Pastry Chef of the Year” in 1995 and 2002.