Chocolatier wins another medal | NOTABLE
November 8, 2011 · Updated 7:31 AM
George Brunjes was wearing his four Scovie medals and a red chef’s hat one morning at the Trinity Lutheran Church kitchen.
“I’m the Michael Phelps of chocolate,” he said, referring to the American swimmer who won a record eight gold medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
“I’m going for seven medals,” Brunjes said modestly.
Brunjes is the single-handed company man of Chocolates by George!, which recently won a second-place medal in the “Sweet Heat” division of the annual Scovie Awards held in Albuquerque, N.M. The contest focuses on foods with a fiery punch. This is the second consecutive year Brunjes has placed in the division.
Brunjes competed against a record number of entries in the dessert category with his “Sky Rockets in Flight” truffle. Items included in this division include candy, cake, pastries and cookies.
“I am absolutely thrilled to have placed as high as we did considering the amount of competition this year,” said Brunjes.
“It’s events like this that keep pushing me to be more creative.”
Indeed, in a period of five minutes, Brunjes mentioned several new recipes that were “bouncing around in my head.”
His “Orient’s Jewel” truffle, for example, is usually made with coriander. Brunjes said, “Just this morning I woke up with an idea to make it with ginger.”
The native of Brooklyn, N.Y. and a former full-time pastor, is now employed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland overseeing the senior services ministry. The church’s commercial kitchen serves as the canvas where Brunjes creates gourmet meals for the “OWLS” (Older, Wiser Lutherans), as well as the place where he makes his chocolates.
The chocolatier said he gets most of his new ideas by talking to folks and taking suggestions for new flavors.
“People talk to me. Suggestions spiral into ideas,” he said.
Just in time for the horse racing season is his “Triple Crown” truffle based on the flavors of a mint julep, and another will add raspberry and chipotle to chocolate. He’s already thinking about St. Patrick’s Day and an Irish cream flavor, and his special Fourth of July truffle, of course, is the “Sky Rockets in Flight” award-winner. Brunjes said he recently created his very own sugar-free dark chocolate, to which he is considering adding the chipotle and raspberry flavors.
He began making chocolate in 2004, and started the business in 2005, doing everything himself including the creating, marketing and distribution of chocolates. In that time, Chocolates by George! has garnered four first-place and 15 other awards for Brunjes’ chocolate creations.
For more information about Chocolates By George! visit www.chocolatesbygeorge.com or call 800-319-2181.