Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Meet the Pied Piper of Chocolates

David Quigney
Sisters and brothers in Chocolate, please join me in welcoming David Quigney from Pied Piper Chocolates, a new candy company in Indiana. We will be featuring some of his creations this coming Saturday Sacrament and his creations will be part of our Annual Halloween Treat Challenge but today we want to just introduce you to the man behind the chocolate. As always in our interviews, our questions are in plain font while the interviewee's answers are italicized.

Have you always enjoyed consuming or baking/working with chocolate?

I don't think there is anyone who doesn't like eating chocolate. Working with chocolate, however, didn't start until Easter 1998 after an overload of bunnies and a little curiosity.

How did you decide to start making your chocolate creations?

If necessity is the mother of invention then curiosity was the mother of chocolate. I love chocolate and mint as well as nestle crunch bars. I always wanted a mint nestle crunch bar. I reasoned that if I cannot buy one I would have to make one, so I did.

How did you learn how to make truffles, molded chocolates, and candies?

I was part of a local theater group and we wanted a bar -fight scene so I took to the internet to find out how to make breakable plates and glasses (sugar-glass). The plates were simple enough but the glasses took more skill than I had, and still lack. Shortly afterward my mother bought me a chocolate maker kit that was little more than a double boiler. After the great chocolate bunny overpopulation of "98" I used the double boiler to melt down the bunnies and make  "Bob". The first Bob was the mint crunch-like bars but I was not aware of all the types of candy molds at the time and my attempts at freehand bar making turned into more of a wafer. Bob took many forms before I found the molds to make squares. I have been self taught as far as the molding but the truffles I have found recipes in books and the net. Most of my flavors have been the result of "I wonder if this will taste good"

The name Pied Piper Chocolates, has a story behind it. Would you share that with us?

One of my hobbies is the Society for Creative Anachronism (medieval re-enactment). An event in 2012 based on the apocalypse needed something special for the feast. Walking through a craft store some friends and I seen a large candy rat mold. I made a dozen rats and had them on the counter. Seeing that army of rats put me in mind of the Pied Piper of Hamelin only mine were chocolate.

White Choco Rat
I saw your red velvet mice and rat at a convention we were both attending this summer. These are far more than simply molded chocolates. Why did you decide to go with a filling and the one that you did?

The rat was the first molded chocolate attempt. As a solid piece of chocolate it was between three and four pounds and 8'x3'x2'. Anyone who has tried to cleanly cut a brick of chocolate knows it's not pretty even with a chisel. It was my suggestion that we fill it with something to take down the bulk. I used red velvet because first I like it and secondly I wanted something that would be appropriate for the inside of the rat. After the the first test with the group it was good, but again curiosity hit and I thought how could I make this even better. That is when the layer of strawberry glaze came. Gruesome, yet tasty.  

You also make Bob Bars and there is a story behind their name, would you share that?

In my circle of friends anything or anyone unknown in given the moniker "Bob." The first Bob was was a hand-made endeavor of making bars that turned into wafer thin almost chocolate flakes. I took them into the grocery store and shared them with friends. They would ask me what is it and not accepting chocolate as an answer I just started calling it Bob. Since then Bob has grown from the mint flavor to seven others with a few more always on the way.

Pied Piper Choco Skull
What is your favorite creation so far?

The next one? Flavor wise I have to say the green/white/orange shamrocks (key-lime/white/orange flavored) have been my favorites. For craftsmanship I think the hand and skull I made for a friend have to hold that title.



Pied Piper Choco Hand
What is the most challenging thing about working with chocolate?

I can't say that I have found anything about it challenging. I have had a few failed undertakings of flavor combinations, molding issues, and some early tempering difficulties but when you enjoy what you are doing it's not a challenge.

Right now you do not have dedicated store or a website. Do you have plans to expand in that way in the future?

Yes. I am looking into domains and have a page currently under construction. No date yet for expected launch but will try to be at a few more conventions this year. 

If any of our readers would like to learn more about your products or where to find them, how could they get in touch with you best?

I have a Pied Piper Chocolates Facebook page with pictures of some of the items I have made.

Thank you, David, for speaking with us.

Thank you for the opportunity.

There you have it, Sisters and Brothers. A new chocolate maker in Indiana for you all to discover. When they get a website up, we'll update this post for you all.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Those are pretty spectacular.

TammyJo Eckhart said...

For a fairly new chocolate maker, he's doing a great job. We'll have a feature about some of his products on Saturday!