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479083 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2008-04-29 22:48:56.0 UTC 2008-04-29T18:48:56.000-04:00 chocolatiers-art-is-easy-to-savor Published 2008-05-02 18:00:05.0 UTC 2008-05-02T14:00:05.000-04:00 news/humaninterest DTI 38635984 One might feel a little guilty about eating a William Dean chocolate — and not just because of the calories. Each is a hand-painted miniature work of art. But biting into pieces filled with lavender and lemon caramel, pecan marzipan, strawberry balsamic or lemongrass and coconut is an adventure in different tastes. So who is William Dean and where does one find these artisan chocolates? William Dean Brown, 47, was an executive at Ceridian in Tampa several years ago when he was inspired by an episode on the Food Network to make some hand-rolled truffles as a treat for his staff. He had never made candy before. "It was the beginning of a passion that I don't ever see waning," Brown said in an interview from his Largo-based business. At first it was a hobby. But as it began to take over his life, he started to think it could be a viable business. He spent some time with artisan chocolatier Chris Elbow in Kansas City, Kan., and studied with other noted chocolatiers. He learned the chemistry of chocolate and its textures and flavors, as well as tempering, molding, dipping and decorating. He tested the market for his creations at local charity events. A visit with his family in Kansas City two years ago gave him the nudge he needed to start the business. While shopping, he and his mother stopped by Dean and DeLuca, an international upscale gourmet grocery store. The chocolates on display were priced at $60 a pound. "My mom said nobody would pay those prices. But the employee behind the counter said they couldn't keep the chocolates in stock they sold so fast. With that, my mom retorted, 'Well, his chocolates look better than these,' '' Brown said. Today, Dean and DeLuca is his primary customer. There, his chocolates sell for $60 a pound. He charges $1.50 per piece. In business less than a year, he already has achieved some fame. Most recently, he was invited to make chocolates for a dinner for Pope Benedict XVI in Washington, D.C. Find him at the Taste of Seminole this weekend. What do you enjoy most about the business? "The visuals — the look of it — and the tastes — the blending of different flavors." What products are included on your confectionary menu? "Jellied fruit candies made with purees, popcorn in eight different flavors and more than 30 hand-painted chocolates. I use mostly French chocolate. It's processed in a way that I like." Where are the chocolates available? "Beans About Cooking in Belleair Bluffs; Hooker Tea Company in St. Petersburg; the Berry Gourmet Web site and Dean and DeLuca in Kansas City and Charlotte, N.C. By the end of the year, I expect to be in more than 90 national retail locations, hotels and several retail Web sites and catalogs." What investment did it take to start the business? "With family and friends as investors, it took a little over $100,000 to get started. The costs were mostly for equipment. I formed the company last May but didn't start production until September and opened the doors in October." He has two part-time employees: Scott Carpenter, who handles the retail side and Valerie Diaz Leroy, a local teacher with a culinary degree. Is the business named after you? "No. I named the company after my father, William, and my grandfather, Dean, who were two of my biggest influences and my namesakes. My father was in the final stages of a six-year battle with cancer and it meant a lot to him to see me starting on this new career path and in a way taking him and his father with me." Christina K. Cosdon can be reached at cosdon@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4154. Christina K. Cosdon, Times Staff Writer Human Interest_News,News,Pinellas Chocolatier's art is easy to savor CCOSDONN LAR Largo dhvnu dhvnu Easy art to savor <p><b>William Dean Chocolates </b>12551 Indian Rocks Road, Suite 1, Largo. </p><p>Hours are 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday. </p><p>Call (727) 593-0656.<br /><br /><b>>></b><b>If you go</b></p><p><b>Sweet spot</b></p><p>William Dean Chocolates 12551 Indian Rocks Road, Suite 1, Largo.Hours: 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday. (727) 593-0656.</p> largo 1 larchocolate043008.lar Easy art to savor 2008-04-30 04:00:00.0 UTC 2008-04-30T00:00:00.000-04:00 William Dean Chocolates, made in Largo, have graced the table of the pope. They retail for about $60 a pound. resources/images/dti/2008/04/larchoc043008_21507a.jpg Douglas R. Clifford | Times resources/images/dti/rendered/2008/04/larchoc043008_21507a_4col.jpgresources/images/dti/rendered/2008/04/larchoc043008_21507a_8col.jpg William Dean Brown creates a batch of rosemary caramels at his business, William Dean Chocolates, in Largo. Brown uses a hair dryer to tweak the consistency of the white chocolate before pouring it into the mold. resources/images/dti/2008/04/larchocb043008_21506a.jpg DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times resources/images/dti/rendered/2008/04/larchocb043008_21506a_4col.jpgresources/images/dti/rendered/2008/04/larchocb043008_21506a_8col.jpg Pictures on the wall of William Dean Brown&#8217;s business, William Dean Chocolates. They are an homage to his father and grandfather. resources/images/dti/2008/04/larchocc043008_21505a.jpg DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times resources/images/dti/rendered/2008/04/larchocc043008_21505a_4col.jpgresources/images/dti/rendered/2008/04/larchocc043008_21505a_8col.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2008/04/29/38635984-chocolatiers-art-is-easy-to-savor StaffArticle news,human interest_newsHuman Interest News ArticlesOne might feel a little guilty about eating a William Dean chocolate — and not just because of the calories.Human Interest_News,News,PinellasHuman Interest_News,News,Pinellas<span style="display:none;" class="author vcard"><span class="fn">CHRISTINA K. COSDON</span></span><span style="display:none;" class="source-org vcard"><span class="org fn">Tampa Bay Times</span></span><a rel="item-license" href="/universal/user_agreement.shtml">&#169; 2016 Tampa Bay Times</a><br /><br />Times Staff Writer 2290564 2016-08-22 23:32:44.0 UTC 1 Week Ago glass-art-forged-in-fire news/humaninterest Glass art forged in fire StaffArticle 2290831 2016-08-24 21:32:21.0 UTC 5 Days Ago fall-into-art-on-n-franklin-this-week news/briefs Fall into art on N Franklin this week StaffArticle 2289884 2016-08-17 20:28:10.0 UTC 2 Weeks Ago blick-materials-looks-to-draw-in-art-scene-with-new-location news/business Blick Materials looks to draw in art scene with new location StaffArticle <p>One might feel a little guilty about eating a William Dean chocolate — and not just because of the calories. </p> <p>Each is a hand-painted miniature work of art.</p> <p>But biting into pieces filled with lavender and lemon caramel, pecan marzipan, strawberry balsamic or lemongrass and coconut is an adventure in different tastes.</p> <p>So who is William Dean and where does one find these artisan chocolates?</p> <p>William Dean Brown, 47, was an executive at Ceridian in Tampa several years ago when he was inspired by an episode on the Food Network to make some hand-rolled truffles as a treat for his staff. He had never made candy before.</p> <p>&quot;It was the beginning of a passion that I don't ever see waning,&quot; Brown said in an interview from his Largo-based business.</p> <p>At first it was a hobby. But as it began to take over his life, he started to think it could be a viable business.</p> <p>He spent some time with artisan chocolatier Chris Elbow in Kansas City, Kan., and studied with other noted chocolatiers. He learned the chemistry of chocolate and its textures and flavors, as well as tempering, molding, dipping and decorating.</p> <p>He tested the market for his creations at local charity events.</p> <p>A visit with his family in Kansas City two years ago gave him the nudge he needed to start the business. While shopping, he and his mother stopped by Dean and DeLuca, an international upscale gourmet grocery store. The chocolates on display were priced at $60 a pound.</p> <p>&quot;My mom said nobody would pay those prices. But the employee behind the counter said they couldn't keep the chocolates in stock they sold so fast. With that, my mom retorted, 'Well, his chocolates look better than these,' '' Brown said.</p> <p>Today, Dean and DeLuca is his primary customer. There, his chocolates sell for $60 a pound. He charges $1.50 per piece.</p> <p>In business less than a year, he already has achieved some fame.</p> <p>Most recently, he was invited to make chocolates for a dinner for Pope Benedict XVI in Washington, D.C.</p> <p>Find him at the Taste of Seminole this weekend.</p> <p></p> <p><b>What do you enjoy most about the business?</b></p> <p>&quot;The visuals — the look of it — and the tastes — the blending of different flavors.&quot; </p> <p></p> <p><b>What products are included on your confectionary menu?</b></p> <p>&quot;Jellied fruit candies made with purees, popcorn in eight different flavors and more than 30 hand-painted chocolates. I use mostly French chocolate. It's processed in a way that I like.&quot;</p> <p></p> <p><b>Where are the chocolates available?</b></p> <p>&quot;Beans About Cooking in Belleair Bluffs; Hooker Tea Company in St. Petersburg; the Berry Gourmet Web site and Dean and DeLuca in Kansas City and Charlotte, N.C. By the end of the year, I expect to be in more than 90 national retail locations, hotels and several retail Web sites and catalogs.&quot;</p> <p></p> <p><b>What investment did it take to start the business?</b></p> <p>&quot;With family and friends as investors, it took a little over $100,000 to get started. The costs were mostly for equipment. I formed the company last May but didn't start production until September and opened the doors in October.&quot;</p> <p>He has two part-time employees: Scott Carpenter, who handles the retail side and Valerie Diaz Leroy, a local teacher with a culinary degree.</p> <p></p> <p><b>Is the business named after you?</b></p> <p>&quot;No. I named the company after my father, William, and my grandfather, Dean, who were two of my biggest influences and my namesakes. My father was in the final stages of a six-year battle with cancer and it meant a lot to him to see me starting on this new career path and in a way taking him and his father with me.&quot;</p> <p><i>Christina K. Cosdon can be reached at cosdon@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4154.</i></p>trueruntime2016-08-30 05:49:00