That’s me. 25 years ago I went out on a chocolate journey without really planning it.
I started in Paris with the famed Master chocolatier, Michele Chaudun, which for me had the most romantic chocolate store that
I needed as an inspiration material for my writing career that I was planning carefully
to myself. I never stopped planning the writing career ever since, chasing vigorously after inspiration materials that I needed so badly around me in order to finally make it happen. However, meanwhile, some relatively extensive chocolate drama happened without me putting too much attention to it. I created a brand, which you’ve might have heard of: Max Brenner Chocolate by the Bald Man- (the bald man in the logo? That’s me) opened many chocolate restaurants around the world, invented some fun chocolate dishes wrapped in all kind of wacky ideas and didn’t really write anything. Then, also without really planning,
a New York judge signed on a “Stipulated Order” – a term I didn’t know till then and I really don’t want to know till today- which meant that for five years I can’t say, make or tell anyone anything about chocolate. So because I had nothing else to do and because I was restricted from looking for chocolate inspiration materials for my writing career I found myself riding my daughter to school, to friends or mostly to the beautiful bakery in our little town telling her stories about all those chocolaty adventures I have had in the last two decades and all the ones I really want to have when I’ll finally be allowed again to use chocolate as my paper and pen. So that’s me and how I got on the bike- Amsterdam by Electra http://www.electrabike.com/bikes/amsterdam) , BTW- if you’re interested in some biking inspirational stuff for beginning writers.
This is probably the strongest memory from the times I was a chocolate apprentice in Paris, dreaming of making my own brand so that I can finally express my explosive personality that wanted so much to share the whirlwind of ideas I have had in my head. Jean Paul Gaultier was my idol. In an Elle magazine dedicated to his work I saw a model with classic blue striped suit and a beautiful, velvety, brown shawl around her… I knew immediately that I have to “borrow” that amazing color combination to my first packaging collection. Blue Striped boxes and a shiny, satin ribbon. This was also the first story I told Tito.
“Twenty-three years old, flipping through a fashion catalogue. A special edition, made of thick, glossy paper. I don’t know your name, and though I’ve been looking at you for months, you are no more familiar than when I first saw you. Page 109. I keep showing you to everyone in every meeting, in your blue striped suit and brown velvet shawl. “This is exactly how I want our boxes to look like... These colors. This material. Exactly this.”
The elegance of a young, groundbreaking fashion designer, proving his versatile taste in this gorgeous modern twist on a classic look. Breathtaking. His talent hurts me and I want so badly to be like him. To this day, I still hope, that his color combination and the soft shawl, that belongs to a totally different style, bringing to this classic look a beauty it never possessed before- will turn my life into the one I can’t stop imagining is his.”
Tito is the girl on the bike. Her real name
is Nellie and she’s my daughter.
Many Dads who fall in love insanely with their first born daughter and can’t really find a decent way to express their overflowing emotions, scream all kinds of unclear sounds. Mine was: titotitotito,
which eventually was shortened to Tito,
her nickname, which was tattooed in an epic love ceremony with my wife on my
and hers arm. Tito was a little bit embarrassed to ride with me on those romantic bikes, because in our small town everyone has the most extreme race and mountain bikes, but she agreed to go on them (not anymore, btw) if I’ll tell her the stories she heard from so many people about Max Brenner, but could never experience or taste herself, because she was never there since she was a little baby growing up in NYC. So that’s Tito and that’s how she got on the bike and she wanted to add that she was never embarrassed by the bike only because I was getting excited and talking way too loud.
When I lived in NYC I was really wild and that’s probably why I mostly dealt with
the romantic stories around chocolate and especially the longing for its cultural European roots. When I moved few years
ago to our little, very peaceful town that everything more or less closes at 7pm,
I became way more interested in the wild side of chocolate- the Cacao. On a trip to
the Blue Mountains in Jamaica I met a
cool guy, Jody, which served me “Jamaican Breakfast Cacao”- a beverage that enlightened me on totally different and fascinating way to prepare chocolate beverages straight from the beans and retain the wild flavors of the origins. It was a real coincidence when I stopped one day in a Brazilian grocery store in Queens and discovered another unknown cultural aspect of the Cacao and how delicious the Cacao Fruit pulp is. The endless breakfast and smoothies’ variations that are prepared from it in South American countries. This new “Cacao Revelations” became the main inspiration to Blue Stripes- Cacao Shop…
But obviously, I couldn’t totally drop the whimsical and addictive part of chocolate which is so much me and more so, so much Tito- who’s the number one chocolate lover in the world- so I decided to share with everyone all the “family” secrets I was making for her for the last five years while I was restricted from making chocolate to everyone else.