World renowned chocolatier and sugar master Ewald Notter shared his considerable talents last weekend during a three-day workshop at William Dean Chocolates in Belleair Bluffs. William Dean employees and pastry chefs from several Tampa Bay area restaurants, as well as chocolatiers from Austin, Texas; Washington, D.C.,; and Atlanta, watched, tasted and captured the scene on their smartphones as Notter demonstrated the making of more than 15 types of handcrafted chocolates, including bonbons, truffles and nougats. Notter, born and trained in Switzerland and now living in Orlando, left Tuesday for Lyon, France, to coach the United States pastry team in the biennial Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie — the world pastry cup. He was on the U.S. team in 2001 that won the gold medal. Bill Brown, owner of William Dean, hopes to bring Notter back soon for a blown sugar demonstration, of which the Swiss chef is rated one of the best in the world. Brown is making a name for himself, too, with his hand-painted and stenciled artisanal chocolates, all made in the kitchens at the Belleair Bluffs facility, which also has a storefront (2790 West Bay Drive; (727) 593-0656 or www.williamdeanchocolates.com). His exquisite creations were used in the movie The Hunger Games and he also supplied chocolates for the sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which is scheduled for release in November. Besides taking home invaluable tips, the chocolatemakers and professional chefs loaded up boxes with Notter's tasty handiwork. Among the most popular? The oozing salted caramels with a crunchy nut at the bottom.
Janet K. Keeler, Times food and travel editor