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This is my chocolate story. What’s yours?

Some sweet and bittersweet memories from civic leaders, pastry chefs, and restaurateurs to celebrate Chocolate: The Exhibition, through May 7 at the Museum of Science.

Everybody loves chocolate, right? And just about everybody has a chocolate story. Mayor Marty Walsh. Chef Joanne Chang. Museum of Science President Ioannis Miaoulis. What’s your chocolate story? Send it to info@bgbrandlab.com, and share it on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #mychocolatestory.

Nothing beats Baileys’ hot fudge

Mention the hot fudge sundaes at Baileys to any resident of the bay state over the age of 50 and I’m guessing the majority will pause a second before recalling greater Boston’s now shuttered chocolate emporium and the purveyors of Beantown’s most sensual experience this side of the combat zone. Why even members of the storied Watch and Ward Society, incorporated as The New England Society for the Suppression of Vice, would find their mouths watering at the memory of freshly ladled hot fudge cascading down twin peaks of velvety vanilla ice cream then overflowing lava-like onto silver plated platters that could’ve been lifted from a Sargent watercolor. Richard Johnson, curator, New England Sports Museum

A visit to the chocolate capital

“My favorite chocolate experience was visiting the chocolate capital of the country in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. It smelled like chocolate in the entire town, it was incredible. I ate way too much chocolate during that trip, but I don’t regret it.” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

Mayor Marty Walsh

Learning from a chocolate legend

Prior to meeting Robert Steinberg, one of the founders of Sharffenberger chocolate, I had never been a chocolate lover. Sure I *liked* chocolate, but love? Nah, chocolate felt like a cop-out. As a professional pastry chef I knew the quickest way to increase my dessert sales was to fold, pipe, or pour chocolate all over my latest creation. It didn’t matter what the dessert actually was; if there was chocolate in it, people clamored for it. Robert marched into my pastry station at Rialto some 20 years ago and handed me some rough chopped chunks of dark chocolate. “Don’t chew. Just let it sit in your mouth,” he instructed. As the chocolate slowly softened and eventually melted, I tasted raspberries, raisins, coffee, red wine. Was that a hint of pepper? I was blown away. I had never really understood what people talked about when they tasted wine or coffee. Now I got it. We tasted several varieties that day, comparing how the chocolate felt on our tongues, what you smelled after swallowing, how tasting chocolate with some salt mixed in made the chocolate deeper and richer. He contrasted his chocolate with what I had in the kitchen and it was clear how much more acid and depth and fruit his had. From that day on I have adored chocolate. I obsess about the flavors and mouthfeel of all of the chocolates we use at Flour. Sadly we switched from Scharffenberger about 10 years ago when we noticed that the flavors had distinctly changed. (The company was sold to Hershey’s and Robert passed away.) Every day I eat either a chocolate chip cookie or a double chocolate cookie and let the chocolate chunks slowly melt in my mouth. Joanne Chang, owner, Flour Bakery

Chef Joanne Chang

When chocolate saves animals

One very fond memory was when we had Endangered Species chocolate bars and gave them out to guests asking if they would make a contribution to our Conservation Fund. One little girl’s eyes lit up and she said something to the effect of, “Wow! Eating chocolate and saving animals!” John Linehan, president, New England Zoo

At the peak of flavor

To hike the Kanneralm, a mountainous region in Austria, one buys supplies at the open farmer’s market in Salzburg: chocolate, oranges, schwarzbrot (black bread), and Austrian dried sausage. My wife, who is half-Austrian, leads the way from her family’s small cabin, hiking inside the tree line and high scrub and then, after an hour, breaking out onto high pastures and ridges. In the distant valleys, cattle graze for the summer, but on the ridge tops it’s windy and cool. We find a good spot on a boulder near a large metal cross and break out the provisions. We chew the tough, dried sausage along with the rich, dark bread, malty and slightly bitter. The oranges are followed by the sharp snap of Manner dark chocolate. It’s the way chocolate is meant to be eaten — bold and bare, bittersweet and offset by the juicy tang of citrus. Chocolate is not an ingredient, it’s a thing unto itself. You put it in your knapsack and then travel the world. Chocolate, oranges, bread, and sausage — one could live an entire life of gourmand extravagance and do worse. Christopher Kimball, owner, Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

A Girl Scout’s confession

“This is terribly embarrassing and the first time I’m speaking of it publicly, but when I was a young girl, I was harshly reprimanded for pretending to have sold all of my Girl Scout thin mint cookies when I actually ate them all. Honestly, I couldn’t eat chocolate for many years after… and I learned my lesson.” Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilor-at-Large

City Councilor-at-Large Ayanna Pressley

Baby’s first chocolate ice cream

Soon after I opened the original J.P. Licks Homemade Ice Cream shop in J.P., I encountered my  first “Chocolate Baby.” I waited on a young father who was buying ice cream for him, his wife, and their baby. The mother and father got cups of Oreo ice cream and the dad ordered a chocolate ice cream cone with a cup. It was a slow day, so I was able to watch an American rite of initiation occur in its entirety. Seated across from his wife and child, he handed the chocolate ice cream cone to his wife, who then presented it to the child. The father had his camera out and began documenting the moment. The child grabbed the cone from their mother and began pushing the ice cream in the general direction of their mouth. Within seconds cheeks, forehead, and mouth were a creamy chocolate mess. Both parents were cheering their offspring on and the baby screeched in delight. The more of a mess the child made the happier all three became. This was the first of scores of chocolate ice cream initiations I have had the privilege of witnessing over the past 35 years at J.P. Licks. Vince Petryk, owner, J.P. Licks

The secret to living to 103? Chocolate.

My grandparents began selling chocolate out of their home in the fall of 1925, officially opening a shop in 1935 in Belmont. Today, their business is Phillips Chocolates with stores on Morrissey Boulevard and South Shore Plaza and an online business that sells chocolates nationwide.  Since I was a little girl, chocolate has been a central part of my life. I vividly remember working in the chocolate shop as a very young child. Because I was underage, I was always ready to run out the door should the authorities come! While I swept the store or packed boxes, I would watch my grandmother dip each chocolate painstakingly by hand. We did not have a conveyor belt then, so we would polish paper to put the chocolates on so that their bottoms would be perfectly smooth and flat.  Before air conditioning, we would control the temperature of the room with ice, and my grandfather would make coffee cream centers by brewing a pot of coffee, as a start. Sometimes we’d make a flavor called “Wedding Cake,” by cooking down all the leftover scraps and putting decorations on the finished piece. My dear mother, who lived 103 incredible years, ate a little bit of chocolate every day. Dark chocolate peppermint patties were her favorite. She would put them in the refrigerator so when she took a bite they would have the perfect snap! That snap was very important! Mary Ann Nagle, third generation chocolate maker of Phillips Chocolate, Boston’s oldest chocolatier

24 layers of chocolate goodness

“In Greece, we celebrate Name Days, similar to birthdays, and each year my family here in the U.S. would get me a decadent, 24-layer chocolate cake. It is a special memory because it combines my love of food (and chocolate) and a little bit of my home country.” Ioannis Miaoulis, president, Boston Museum of Science

Extra innings call for extra cookies

“My biggest weakness is chocolate chip cookies. I “stress- eat” them during the late innings.  Not good, given we have 162 (plus) games a year!” Sam Kennedy, president, Boston Red Sox

 

Not a chocolate fan. Well, except that one time . . .

“I know it’s sacrilege to say, but, for the most part, I’m not a huge chocolate fan. I do, however, have one rich exception: Belgian hot chocolate. A long time ago I was visiting Brussels (a little city, right between France and Germany). It was a busy day, and by late afternoon I was exhausted. I stopped in a two-floor cafe that overlooked a small park. It was a little touristy, but it was warm and smelled heavenly. Like I said, I’m not a big chocolate guy, but on a whim I ordered the classic hot chocolate. Why not? The server dropped it off. I took a sip. I almost spewed the contents everywhere. NOT what I was expecting. It was insanely bitter, and insanely good. The server noticed my confusion and explained that classic Belgium hot chocolate has little to no sugar and is often made with dark chocolate (hence the bitter goodness). I highly recommend it, but be forewarned.” Garrett Harker, owner, Eastern Standard

Garrett Harker

A pastry chef’s moment of truth

“Twelve years into my career as a pastry chef I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago and visit the French Pastry School for a “Chocolate Showcase” class with Stephane Leroux, one of the top pastry chefs in the world. Over four days, I saw that he was able to make absolutely anything out of chocolate. He used random household objects, like old blinds, to make incredibly detailed and realistic shapes and textures. I realized in that moment that I still had so much more to learn and that inspiration was in every corner of my life. I often think back to that moment when I realized that while I was more of a chocolate expert than most people in the world, there were so many more creative ways I could be working it.” Ryan Pike, executive pastry chef at The Langham, Boston

Unforgettable edible art

“Of all my chocolate experiences, the chocolate tart at Alinea stands out as an unforgettable end to an unforgettable meal. I had to work hard to get a reservation at the fancy Chicago restaurant, but it was worth it. Chef-owner Grant Achatz himself made the dessert tableside, right on a silicone table mat. He poured milk chocolate atop a crust in a frame, which he then removed, leaving a perfect circle of velvety chocolate magic. Next, he painted the table mat with streaks of violet syrup, which tasted like purple, and crème fraîche. Achatz finished by sprinkling hazelnut pieces and edible glitter. I can’t imagine a better finale than that chocolate tart: chocolatey, creamy, nutty, crunchy, floral — as delicious as it was beautiful. The Girl Who Ate Boston, blogger

This content was produced by Boston Globe Media's BG BrandLab in collaboration with the advertiser. The news and editorial departments of The Boston Globe had no role in its production or display.