Earth and Sky Chocolates
Inspired by Nature
What started off as a friendship, and a mutual appreciation of fine chocolate, blossomed into a successful partnership in both business and love for Calistoga’s newest chocolatiers Christian Parks and Laura Koerth of Earth and Sky Chocolates located in the Calistoga Train Depot off Lincoln Avenue in the center of town. The husband and wife team met in 2004 in Chicago at the French Pastry School and found an instant connection to the intricate, European-style of bonbon. This haute chocolate-making technique uses modern-shaped molds to create dark couverture chocolate shells decorated with cocoa butter-based colors in vibrant Pollock-esque patterns which house decadent, creamy ganache centers—each filled with flavors inspired by their new wine country home such as heirloom fruit purees, local jams and honeys, teas, herbs and even wine and whiskey.
Their eye-catching (and delicious) collection of bonbons, hand-wrapped caramels, nut brittles and toffees have garnered rave reviews since the company’s inception in 2007 and the demand for their confections found them looking for a larger retail and kitchen space to expand the business from its nine-year-old location in Jonesborough, Tennessee. In December 2016, the couple’s search was over when they found the Train Depot in Calistoga and made the decision to move the entire operation across the country. After a few months of renovating the turn-of-the-century railcar into a sleek showroom with a glossy all-white interior accented with touches of rustic wood, stone and chrome Sputnik lights, the natural light-filled car is now the perfect canvas to showcase the couple’s works of art and the new Earth and Sky Chocolates shop and kitchen opened, very appropriately, on Earth Day (April 22) of this year.
“We’re fueled by what we see and find in nature. Like the beautiful views of the Pacific Coast which inspired our classic Sea Salt Caramel Bonbon—decorated with deep blues, seafoam greens and silver on the outer shell to reflect the ocean’s colors.” said Laura Koerth, Proprietor at Earth and Sky Chocolates. “It was the abundance of heirloom fruits and local jams which inspired us to create a nostalgic flavor like PB&J decorated in primary colors as a nod to everyone’s childhood favorite. Everything between the earth and the sky gives us inspiration.”
Masters of Technique
Finding the highest quality ingredients to make the finest tasting chocolates possible has always been a priority for Christian and Laura. Prior to opening their first shop, the couple taste-tested hundreds of chocolates from around the globe in order to develop their signature style of seasonally focused recipes which reflect not only their personal taste but also highlight the locally sourced flavorings for the ganache fillings. Creating an American twist on a European specialty, the Earth and Sky bonbons are stronger in flavor than their old-world counterparts and the influence of the agricultural surroundings of Napa Valley is present in every bite. Their wine series is based on matching their fillings to the inherent characteristics of each wine varietal. For example, a white chocolate shelled bonbon may be filled with vanilla, pineapple, caramel or butterscotch ganache to pair with a Chardonnay or Viognier. And always a crowd favorite, blackberry and thyme ganache to pair with a hearty Napa Valley Cabernet. Christian and Laura continually experiment with different flavored teas, herbs, honeys and fruits to create one-of-a-kind offerings to please any palate. Later this fall, Earth and Sky will be introducing a limited-release holiday collection featuring traditional seasonal flavors using pumpkin spice, fresh peppermint, mulled cider and more. The bonbons are sold by the piece or serious chocolate lovers can create a custom assortment from more than fifteen flavors in a 16- or 25-piece box. Their shop is open Wednesday through Monday from 12 to 4 p.m. (hours expanding soon) for purchases and they are now creating custom bonbons for wedding clients, wine pairing programs at wineries and various special events throughout Napa Valley. For more information about their specialty confections, email firstname.lastname@example.org.