While I’m not sure if it’s a European tradition or simply a closely held custom celebrated within my Germanic family but chocolate is revered, to the point where a kitchen or dining room cabinet in virtually every household is dedicated exclusively and filled to the brim with a vast assortment of chocolate, a veritable potpourri including most notably, Asbach Uralt filled confections, Germany’s beloved Ruedesheim Cognac.
Visiting one another always entails streaming through airport customs, suitcases stuffed to the gills with gifts of chocolates. So it was with total delight, given my upcoming trip to Dusseldorf for a family wedding, that I discovered a local Sperryville artisan, a chocolatier from whom I will certainly purchase oodles for my journey.
Young Christopher Jenkins, a graduate of Rappahannock High, for a number of years was employed by the Thornton River Grille starting under Ken Thompson. He was 15, it was his first job, and he quickly moved his way up from dishwasher to ministering Rudy’s pizza to all manner of duties including creating delicious pastries; confections becoming a passion. With the recent renovations at TRG he took the opportunity to enjoy the time off to create his own home business, namely all things chocolate: Rapturous (www.rapturous.biz).
His ingredients are Fair Trade organic certified containing no steroids, such as Arriba cacao originating from South and Central America, a gentle light-roasted and nuanced dark-roasted organic coffee creating an aromatic, sweet, bright and nutty flavoring.
In making his Rapturous chocolates, Christopher avoids using soy, and enjoys goat’s milk as the milk molecules of lactose that are smaller and allow more folks to enjoy chocolate who are otherwise sensitive to cow’s milk. Interestingly, goat’s milk from fair trade practices is only available when a goat is not nursing, indeed goats are given 6 weeks maternity leave.
To my pleasant surprise, Christopher shared a sampling of chocolates, reminiscent of fine aphrodisiac oyster tastings. He employs celtic sea salt and unrefined brown Muscovado sugar, a type of partially refined to unrefined sugar, carrying a strong molasses content and flavour. Muscovado contains higher levels of various minerals than processed white sugar, and is considered by some to be healthier.
The chocolate flavors include lavender, peppermint bark, sugar and salt combo, dark bean sugar and sea salt infused, milk chocolate and more.
Christopher’s current distribution points are the Sperryville Country Store, Crowfoot Farm, Skyward Cafe and the Compass Tea Room in Luray. He has dreams of expanding his confectionary gifts beyond chocolate to ice cream, with flavors including taffy, caramel and sea salt.
We wish you all the success!