I know the title may be a little misleading. Twin City Hive isn’t exactly going in a new direction as much as repaving the road they were already Segwaying on. When TCH first opened in 2014, they were a combination of Segway tours, coffee and chocolate; the Segway tours being the big attraction and the coffee and chocolate being a residual bonus. Focus changed as the coffee and desserts took a precedence, as did the principal cast of players in the TCH’s, well, “hive.”
The main chocolatier of the business moved on and the two other partners in the business, Joey Burdette and Terry Miller decided to set their priority to the coffee and chocolate. This also led to a bit of a scramble to locate suppliers of artisan chocolate companies. However, it was standard or stock chocolate that were factory made. That left little room for experimentation.
Joey says, “We’ve had a couple of different artisan chocolate companies, throughout the US, that we purchased from. One is in Vermont, another is in St. Louis and another is in Minnesota. They were all delicious but what we found is that people coming in wanted to specify, ‘what about this and what about this?’ And, they were all great ideas but because we weren’t making them, we couldn’t control the process.”
TCH has already been doing its own chocolate bars, starting earlier this year. They call it the Icon Bar and it is a representation of the old RJ Reynolds building, now the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel and Katharine Brasserie & Bar Restaurant. Production for the Icon Bar had to be upped because the demand grew. So, they opted to acquire a space to do their bars in. This opened the door, also, for them to explore their very own line of chocolate truffles, a return to their roots and original concept. Which, somehow, brings this post full circle to where I began.
Joey has started the professional chocolatier program through the Ecole Chocolat out of Vancouver, BC, Canada. It’s a three month online course that will get him “Professional Chocolatier” status and enable him to work on being a “Master Chocolatier,” a renown status that he can earn from matriculating at numerous specialty schools throughout the world.
So, not only will the Twin City Hive truffles be delicious, they will be made from a (first) professional and then Master Chocolatier. Okay, great, you say, but what does that mean? Earlier I mentioned that there was demand for specialty, specific kinds of truffles. Perhaps you want chili and lavender truffles or honey and cardamom or other mind-blowing combinations of flavors? Well, with TCH making their own chocolates, they can experiment and create the chocolates that you like or can dream up. When buying from outside vendors, the buyer is bound by the vendors’ selections. These are made here, in WSNC.
I was able to try the salted caramel (with sea salt from my native state of West Virginia… yeah, it’s a long story), honey cinnamon, and Texas Pete. They were beautiful, decorative and most importantly, delicious. There will be more flavors over time. Joey says he’s having fun playing around with recipes and ideas in their Dept. of Agriculture approved kitchen. The production will continue to grow as he finishes the chocolatier program. The biggest challenge for him is managing the store, managing the cooking and managing school, its work and its schedule. It’s vigorous and is challenging. Right now, he’s just adding more in the day, which is saying a good bit because he has already been slammed. But, it’s good for the business’ future and is rewarding in the fact that he’s enjoying the learning and implementation.
There are TCH truffles available, now, at the counter of the shop and I would highly recommend having some. Joey’s a smart and innovative guy and I can’t wait to try new concoctions as they come from his imagination. You can try your own, along with proprietary blends of tea and gourmet coffees by visiting Twin City Hive at 301 Brookstown Ave. in Winston-Salem. They have a lovely coffee lounge, with couches and cozy seating, a conference room that is available for public use, many tables for working and a nice, welcoming patio. And, of course, fine chocolates.