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Made with Love

How celebrity pastry Chris Ford’s ethos created a personal line of chocolate


March 16, 2021
By Bakers Journal


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Chris Ford at the Noir Lab, exploring different chocolate flavour profiles. Photo credit: Aeterno Praesenti Photography

Celebrity chef Chris Ford wanted to make a line of chocolate that would apply universally as couverture, filling and main ingredient. This multipurpose baking chocolate isn’t the standard baking chocolate fare: Ford designs his sweets to be made literally and figuratively made with “Love.”

Ford’s chocolate, “Love” is the latest from his company, Butter Love &Hardwork. The chef’s passion for good chocolate is paired with his love of fighting hunger. For every kilogram of Love brand chocolate that is sold, Ford donates a dollar to Feeding America. Feeding America is a U.S.-based food bank; the charity states that through its partnerships, each dollar helps secure the equivalent of 12 pounds of food, or ten meals. “It’s not a limited, one-time donation,” states Ford. “I would love to do more with them in the future…there’s no sign of stopping.

“I really believe in what they do… and especially because the name is ‘Love,’ I wanted it to be something where we’re giving back. I really like what they do and how one dollar goes towards providing ten meals.”

Love was designed with the help of Cacao Barry’s L’Or Noir laboratory, where he sampled chocolates from around the world to get a sense of the flavour profile he wanted. “It was all done in stages. First, we decided where we wanted the beans to come from, and that was done by flavour. So I decided on the cacao from Ecuador and Ghana. And then it was really just playing with percentages of milk fat.”

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When asked why he chose to make chocolate that satisfied usually polarized preferences of both milk and dark chocolate, Ford replied, “the American palate is very milk chocolate-forward, just because we’ve grown up on really bad chocolate. As a professional, I tend to prefer dark, because, I think dark usually has more character and more depth. It was definitely a key point for me to for it to be that way…getting the really dark rich top tones from the cacao, but then having the milky ones in the back. So when you eat when you eat Love, the very beginning notes are very rich cocoa, like almost like a really dark brownie. And then it finishes in your mouth almost like a surfboard. And it just goes up and down the roof of your mouth with just this creamy finish. It’s almost it’s like a bitter chocolate without the bitterness.”

Ford’s company name reflects his ethos. It all started with trying to find a new email handle. “I asked myself what are the three pillars of my life: And it’s butter, love and hard work. So it really just started out as a funny email address. And then I started a blog to document my first pastry chef job and a blog where I shared what I was doing with the pastry community. Then, it turned into a website and then it turned into an ecommerce store,” recalled Ford. “And now, we have Love.”

Bakers Journal asked Ford if he noticed an increase in chocolate sales on account of the pandemic. Ford mused that as his shop is online, he feels that his company is thriving. “I would say there’s more sales, mostly because people can’t see each other. So, you know, I haven’t seen my mom in over a year, so I would send her a chocolate heart and stuff like that, that so I would yes.”

Valentine’s Day is the busiest season for both his chocolate and his brand. “The entire collection is made with Love. That was something very special to me, because I offer a very experiential culinary experience with the breakables, where you break it open and there’s more candy or chocolate inside. Everything is made with Love; everything’s inspired by love.” / BJ