By: Laura Fox Photo Editor
Jennie Hales, a local chocolate artisan, works briskly on her next project. She’s opening her historic home for Pleasant Grove’s annual Strawberry Days festival in mid June, with hopes of getting her truffle business into full swing.
Jennie’s front room is blocked off and starting to look like a little shop for her delicate chocolates that she designs both in flavor and appearance. Working for the last few years as a hobbyist, Jennie has started to move to a fuller schedule of truffle making, which is what she truly wants to do with her time. Though at the moment she juggles a full time job, family, her love of chocolate, and of people.
In the kitchen, containers with multicolored hardened chocolate, decorative molds—including a mold of Han Solo frozen in carbonite for tiny chocolate bars—and frosting bags filled with Jennie’s own soft and sweet fillings. Her two shy daughters hang around the kitchen island for the “rejects” even though they are just as delicious as the others. But the girls help where they can by heating up hardened chocolate on Jennie’s old-fashioned copper stove and eating tasty mistakes.
Hidden away in closets and drawers are pretty packaging which Jennie artfully presents to her clients. White triangle boxes with pink, black or white tulle tied up in attractive bows, golden boxes with twine and a see-through lid makes for a sweet gift. On her large kitchen table, rows of dark chocolate cherry truffles look scrumptious, the slight relief pattern of cherry’s dusted with an edible pink shimmer.
White and milk chocolate cubes filled with soft creamy flavors and crusted with cookies and graham crackers for extra texture. Rows of mini chocolate bars flavored with homemade cookies and cream decorate the table, along side other attractively decorated truffles with flavors like lemon-raspberry cheesecake, piña colada, lime-coconut sprinkled with toasted coconut, and even s’mores.
With the wedding season in full bloom, Jennie hopes to get more orders for her delectable chocolates; she also aims to serve local businesses, like hotels or reception centers. The Truffle Cottage can be found online at thetrufflecottage.com, where locals can indulge in both small and large orders. Or, head over to Pleasant Grove for Strawberry days and stop by her large cottage with a white picket fence and pillared porch on the corner of First East and Second South—she would be happy to have company!