Amateur chocolatier’s bid at Taste of Chocolate yields sweet reward |

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Amateur chocolatier’s bid at Taste of Chocolate yields sweet reward

Deborah Behringer stands in the kitchen of her Craig home where she and her friend, Elaine Gray, made chocolate mocha truffles for Saturday’s Taste of Chocolate event in downtown Craig. Ticket holders voted Behringer’s creation as the best in the contest.

At a glance …

Craig resident Deborah Behringer won first place Saturday at the sixth annual Taste of Chocolate.

Behringer’s chocolate mocha truffles garnered the popular vote during the annual event hosted in conjunction with the 17th annual Art Walk.

Behringer, a Yampa Valley Piecemakers Quilt Guild member, plans to donate her $125 prize to the guild.

A casual observer would probably never guess Deborah Behringer's kitchen was the scene of a chocolate-coated frenzy.

A pan of rising bread dough sat neatly atop a warming oven in her Craig home Monday afternoon.

Her counters were nearly spotless and her Kitchen Aid sat neatly in a corner.

But it was a different scene Saturday, the end of a two-day marathon to prepare Behringer's chocolate mocha truffles for the sixth annual Taste of Chocolate, she said.

Bits of chocolate covered both sides of her cutting boards, and there was even a smidge of it on the pepper grinder, she said.

Her husband, Rick, volunteered to clean after she and a friend, Elaine Gray, finished making 125 truffles for the annual event.

"He said there was chocolate everywhere," said Behringer, 64. "… He will attest to the fact that I'm a messy cook."

If a disheveled kitchen is a token of a prize-winning chocolatier, Behringer fit the bill.

She entered Taste of Chocolate for the first time and won. Ticket holders for the event voted her truffles the most delectable out of the creations made by 16 chocolatiers in the event, which took place in conjunction with the 17th annual Art Walk in downtown Craig.

Until this year, making chocolate was solely a holiday pastime for Behringer.

"I started out making truffles several years ago, just making them at Christmas for friends and family (as) gifts," she said.

This year, she entered Taste of Chocolate in conjunction with the Yampa Valley Piecemakers Quilt Guild, a group she's been a part of for three years.

In addition to Behringer's chocolates, The Embroidery Shoppe also hosted a display of quilts members made for chemotherapy patients. They will be donated to The Memorial Hospital in Craig and Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs.

The guild paid for the chocolate, and the rest was up to Behringer and Gray, also a quilt guild member.

Their truffles contained four ingredients: Ghirardelli chocolate for the shell — or enrobing, as it's known to chocolatiers — and more chocolate, cream, espresso powder and Kahlua coffee liqueur for the ganache, or creamy filling.

The coup de grace of this chocolately confection is its crunchy outer shell.

"That's the trickiest part, really," Behringer said.

They made a few more than their allotted amount for sampling.

"We were very pleased" with the end result, Gray said.

She wasn't expecting to win, but "we were hopeful," she said.

She, like Behringer, was taken aback to learn their truffles had garnered the popular vote.

"I was surprised," said Gray, 62.

Behringer will donate the $125 first-place prize to the quilt guild to support its quilt show during Grand Olde West Days, she said.

Whether she and Gray will assume the role of confectioners at next year's Taste of Chocolate has yet to be seen.

But, it's a possibility the duo will "make it a tradition," Gray said

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