Chefs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau bring you the latest on Seattle's dining scene
Seattle Kitchen
chocolate truffle
Aaron Barthel at Intrigue Chocolate Co. says they've already created 180 flavors. (Image courtesy Facebook - Intrigue Chocolate Co.)

From botanist to chocolatier, 180 flavors later

Intrigue Chocolate Co. owner and Chocolatier Aaron Barthel didn't come to chocolate making by way of the kitchen. Instead, it was all the plant aroma and flavors he discovered in botany.

"I found a recipe in a horticulture magazine," says Barthel who started making chocolate for fun about 12 years ago. "I haven't had any culinary training, so I started with the herbal aspect."

Barthel tells KIRO Radio's Seattle Kitchen Show that many think of herbs as savory, but there are many that are sweet. He uses a 70 percent dark Belgian chocolate base to try out as many different flavors as he can find.

"When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a mad scientist and I guess I kind of took that on. So now I walk into a spice shop and I want a little bit of everything," he says. "I take it back to the shop with me and I play with it."

He starts out with an herb's aroma. "Sometimes when I'm working on a combination, I'll take two jars at a time and I'll smell them both at different distances from my nose to see which one's stronger and which one I want more of or less of."

Taste and texture are also important. Barthel likes to test his new chocolate flavors with a cup of tea.

"I make tea, and then I eat some chocolate while I drink the tea. That's how I know if it works or not."

So far Barthel has made 180 flavors of chocolate truffles. They have at least 12 varieties at Intrigue at any one time, and the varieties are always changing.

"At Intrigue, we celebrate discovery and encourage the habit of exploration, enrichment, and enjoyment," says the store's website.

Seattle Kichen with Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau can be heard on KIRO Radio on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. Available anytime ON DEMAND at KIRORadio.com.

Jamie Skorheim, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Whether it's floating on Green Lake, eating shrimp tacos at Agua Verde, or taking weekend drives out to the Cascades, she loves to enjoy the Pacific Northwest lifestyle as much as humanly possible.
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus


In the community
Do you know a student who stands out in the classroom, school and community?
Help make their dreams come true by nominating them for a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to earn a $10,000 Grand Prize. Brought to you by KIRO Radio and Comprehensive Wealth Management.

Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.