Compartés' chocolates are made by hand in the workshop behind the retail store in Brentwood. You won't see conveyor belts or chocolate waterfalls. You will see copper bowls (inherited from the original 1950 shop) and small tempering machines that are used to melt chocolate. Valentine's Day flavors, pictured here, include strawberry chipotle, huckleberry balsamic, passion fruit and raspberry rose.
The ganache: Some ganache fillings are mixed with fruit purée, such as for the passion fruit truffle, a variety shipped from an organic farm in Kauai. For raspberry rose, fresh raspberries are added to dark chocolate ganache and finished with rosewater. For other flavors, the cream used to make the ganache is infused with herbs or spices as well.
The shell: Compartés uses its own signature chocolate with 77% cacao content, bittersweet enough to stand up to and contrast with fruity fillings. Tempered chocolate is poured into molds, the ganache is piped in and then the chocolates are covered by hand with more chocolate to close the bonbon.
The design: Decorations are made of edible colored cocoa butter, which also can be customized with logos, applied to each chocolate.
—Betty HallockCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times