It might seem that making chocolate is a fun and easy process. While, yes, it is fun, it’s hardly easy. Turns out, there’s a whole science behind making chocolate.
That’s part of the reason why Micah Ellowitz makes handmade chocolate bars, truffles and bark. Transforming cacao beans into chocolate treats is a science and culinary art that he loves. He is a chemist by trade, as well as a doctor in residence, who will rattle off the hows and whys of chocolate, from the different flavor profiles of different cacao beans to why each is different from the other.
“I enjoy using chocolate as a way of expressing flavor,” Ellowitz says. “Coming up with new flavors and flavor combinations is really exciting for me, processing ingredients in new ways that haven’t been done before. So experimentation is all really fun.”
Using cacao beans purchased from Meridian Cacao Company, which vets their beans solely from farms that employ ethical labor practices, he creates unique chocolate flavors including a Southwest-inspired flavor that uses hickory-smoked almonds and chile, as well as lemon chiffon truffles made with whole lemons.
Ellowitz is a chocolatier physician – that is a doctor and a chocolatier – who focuses on the health benefits of chocolate. He was trained through Dr. Sue Williams, a chocolatier physician from Dallas.
“I learned a philosophy of making chocolate that emphasizes the health properties of chocolate and using chocolate as a positive reinforcement for healthy behaviors,” Ellowitz says.
His business name comes from his grandmother, Grace Ellowitz, an El Pasoan who owned Cooking with Grace and wrote two books, including one titled, “Eating with Grace.” He credits his grandmother as being one of the earliest health food proponents in the area.
Ellowitz carries on Grace’s philosophy by making his chocolate with no artificial colors or ingredients and by putting an emphasis on his handmade process. “I just enjoy using the natural ingredients without any extracts and converting those into the optimal flavor,” he says
Ellowitz roasts his cacao beans just enough that they caramelize, but still maintains its own natural flavors. “Think about the difference between an espresso and a light coffee roast – I like to get there in between.”
Ellowitz, who is taking a break from his internal medicine residency in Chicago, said he plans on returning to medicine one day, but also wants to continue his chocolate business too. For now, he is making his chocolates at The Culinary Studio, a local commercial kitchen that also houses local charcuterie and catering business Jordy’s Curbside Eats.
You can find Ellowitz’s handmade chocolate creations at local farmer’s markets.