Locally Made: Sam Filicetti Achieves Higher Consciousness with Chocolate
In ancient times, Mayans drank cacao concoctions to achieve an altered consciousness believed to bring them close to a god-like state. It was this promise of elevated awareness and an interest in Divine Metaphysics that initially attracted Sam Filicetti, an electrical engineer, to chocolate-making.
The Mayans drank the chocolate, but we prefer to bite into it and getting the cacao mixture to the perfect state is where the modern magic happens. The process of getting chocolate to solidify and form a shiny coating is tricky.
Filicetti, who calls his company ib2, explains that many large chocolate producers use a small amount of paraffin to guarantee the glossy finish and this addition can give the finished product a slightly waxy taste.
To solidify the chocolate, the seeding process begins. Filicetti adds a small piece of finished chocolate known as the seed, which helps the melted chocolate to crystallize. Filicetti explains that the solid piece helps the liquid "remember" how to be solid.
Watching the process come together, it does seem as if some metaphysical communication is occurring, but in reality the crystals from the seed chocolate are providing a base for melted chocolate pieces to build onto. As the chocolate cools, Filicetti must work quickly to squeeze the liquid into the molds.
The results are mind blowing. Each bite of dark chocolate contains layers of flavors that unfold in your mouth. Filicetti also makes lavender, mint, and espresso flavors, which uses whole roasted beans from local coffee stop Lux.
Filicetti has always had an interest in culinary arts. Six years ago he left his engineering position at Motorola to become a one man chocolate factory and these days he doesn't even have an email account. After spending some time with Filicetti as he makes chocolate, it is clear that his transition from engineer to chocolatier was the right one.
While the results may not be the mind altering experience prescribed by the Mayans, chocolate making has certainly been a life altering event for Sam Filicetti and that, he says as he pops his candy anti-depressant in his mouth, "is a really good feeling."
A bite of chocolate every day to keep you happy? Sounds like higher consciousness to us.
This spring, Filicetti plans to open a chocolate shop in the long awaited downtown retail facilities The Duce. Just in time for Valentines Day, you can find ib2 chocolates at The Hillside Spot, Vincent on Camelback, and Gallo Blanco. Check the ib2 website for more locations and contact information.