BEST CHOCOLATE - 2004
Husband-and-wife team Brian McElrath and Christine Walthour have a rack of awards that would make Lord of the Rings king Peter Jackson jealous. Aside from being showered with local accolades, their artisan chocolate company, B.T. McElrath, has received press mentions in Bon Appétit and USA Today, won honors from the Food Network and the Travel Channel, and was recently named one of the Top 20 Artisan Chocolate Makers in the United States by Chocolatier magazine. Using Minnesota-made fresh cream and butter, artisan chocolatier and visionary McElrath provides a modern twist on traditional chocolate flavors, spinning new creations every season such as the tasty recent additions, Chile Limón and Kaffir Lime with Coconut and Ginger. And McElrath, who was trained at the California Culinary Academy, relies on a timeless cooking tradition that originated in Grandma's kitchen: Everything is hand-done. An eight-person staff stirs every batch of chocolate, and each piece becomes a work of art that is fastidiously decorated or airbrushed with cocoa butter. Life is sweet indeed. B.T. McElrath's award-winning chocolates are sold in stores around the Twin Cities, such as Byerlys, Lunds, and the Wedge.