GOOD EATS: SCHOOLED IN CHOCOLATE. BY COY A. FLOWERS

gvbc LBSPY APRIL

At heart, I’m a perpetual student. If I could grab a backpack and head to class every day while providing for my family, I would be deeply happy to spend my days soaking up new and exciting information.

So, when Gina Lang at the Greenbrier Valley Baking Company, or GVBC, agreed to open her kitchen to conduct a private baking class for me, I was all in for this month’s food adventure, especially when I learned the focus of her instruction – Chocolate!

Outfitted in a very French pink beret and starched white apron, Professor Lang instantly matched my mental vision of the quintessential pastry chef. But when she pushed up her sleeves to begin the lesson, revealing her super cool tattoos, I was certain of one thing: the next hour sure wouldn’t be my grandmother’s cake baking session.

gvbc lbspy april 2

Preferring cocoa powder from Holland rather than solid block chocolate, Gina intricately described the single most important ingredient in her bakery’s best selling item, the Chocolate Fudge Torte.

And, yes, it’s a torte, not a cake. A traditional cake is made with ingredients mainly consisting of sugar, eggs, butter and flour. A traditional torte, however, calls for little flour and the use of ground nuts or breadcrumbs in its place. This change of ingredients causes the torte to be much heavier in both texture and taste. At GVBC, Gina achieves a more dense cake by utilizing solid shortening instead of oil.

In European countries, desserts are created with care and precision. Gina’s tortes made here in the Greenbrier Valley are no exception to that rule. Starting with exquisite cocoa then adding in specific amounts of milk, flour, baking powder, shortening, and eggs, she creates an amazingly rich cake, weighing nearly 2 1/2 pounds, as the core of her dessert.

After the cake had properly cooled and was carefully removed from the pan, Gina proudly unveiled two of her most prized kitchen tools: her personal knife for slicing the cake into layers and an antique cake wheel that she originally found in a barn outside of Frankford. Watching her cut the cake into three nearly equal round layers was fascinating. From my vantage point of kneeling to be eye level with the cake, I spied an interesting combination of new meets old. A tattooed female forearm, wielding a saber-like knife, expertly slaying a traditional yet modernized cake, while resting on an antique pedestal. I felt as if generations of cake aficionados were meeting at that one moment, and I was truly lucky to be witnessing their collective work.

gvbc lbspy april 3

To make the cake more moist, yet maintain it’s dense consistency, Gina revealed one of her secrets. She brushes each layer of the cake with a simple sugar (3 parts sugar to 1 part water) mixed with vanilla. “Vanilla,” she added, “is like salt. It brings out the intensity of the flavor of the chocolate.” From the mouth-watering aroma of the yet unfinished torte, I was an instant believer.

Now, I must admit, my favorite part of the lesson happened next: fudge icing. A torte is typically made of many layers. The filling is generally made up of whipped cream, buttercream, or mousse. In a pinch, I would be satisfied with any of those three. But, between you and me, I much prefer a bowl of thick, chocolatey fudge and a large spoon – and the guarantee than no one would discover my gluttony. As if she were also part clairvoyant, Gina did not disappoint, smacking my palate with an mind blowing chocolate fudge. Consisting of a most incredibly perfect blend of butter, cocoa powder, water, corn syrup and salt, this is the fudge icing I’ve been waiting for my entire life.

Once completely covered in icing, the torte was ready for its finishing aesthetic touches to transform it from a more rustic dessert to a refined delicacy. Applying a steady spin on her cake wheel, Gina expertly utilized an 8-inch icing knife to smooth and swirl the fudge icing into a regal torte, fit for both European royalty and my Greenbrier Valley 3rd grader.

This and countless other Chocolate Fudge Tortes from Gina’s kitchen will be eagerly consumed, thoroughly enjoyed and fondly remembered for the decades to come. I’m just glad that I got to spend time on this occasion in the kitchen of a local expert doing what she loves to do and others are grateful that she’s doing it.

Visit Gina and the Greenbrier Valley Baking Company at 110 South Jefferson Street. You can also call to order a torte or other wonderful dessert at 304-645-6159. Enjoy!

– Coy A. Flowers, LBSPY #52 (April 7-May 5, 2014)

LBSPYWRITERCOYFLOWERS

Submit a Comment

Fall Fashion & Fun Things to Do w/ your Lewisburg City Paper!

Fall into Fashion & Things to Do w/ your Lewisburg City Paper! - Fall into Fashion as unique as you are at Wolf Creek Gallery in downtown Lewisburg. Since 1994, Deva Wagner (owner of Wolf Creek Gallery) has invested thousands of hours into this creative store to offer the coolest up-and-coming brands that have people stopping her clients in the streets. The store offers a selection of carefully curated […]

Stay Updated w/ HashtagWV!

Want to stay updated with the paper or thinking about advertising? Sign up today for the latest HASHTAGWV monthly newsletter!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Best Things to Do in Lewisburg, WV

Best Things to Do in Lewisburg WV! - Spending a day in Lewisburg? Here are a few of the best things to do while you’re visiting. Start your day at the Wild Bean coffee shop.  Located downtown, this cafe offers premium coffee, tea, veggie cuisine, wi-fi, entertainment, and more! The breakfast menu consisting of breakfast burritos, egg scrambles, breakfast sandwiches and granola w/ […]
"Over the last 10 years, we have tried several avenues for advertising. Beyond a doubt, our greatest return has been through HASHTAGWV. Whether it be in the HASHTAGWV print edition, or online, our customers, both locals and tourists, really do look for this media form to be in tune with what’s going on in the area and for destination shopping. Advertising with LBSPY (now HASHTAG) has unequivocally been a great asset for our business!" - Craig Miller w/ Serenity Now Outfitters. Ad rates start at just $20! Click here for MEDIA KIT  

LBMEDIAKIT
LBSPY-Testimonials1
Patrick4CMPLTshrp "LBSPY is the best thing that has happened in Greenbrier County since I have been here for seven years. Maybe the whole state.... a first class operation and a lot of hard work," Patrick O'Flaherty (pictured above), The Irish Pub, Lewisburg, WV

Donating = Loving

HashtagWV remains D.I.Y. in nature and it takes hundreds of hours a month to research and write, and thousands of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy and value in it, please consider making a one time or recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee at The Wild Bean and a good dinner at Food & Friends
Adam DeGraff "LB Spy always has their finger on the pulse of this community!" - Adam Degraff (pictured above), (The Weight/ The Dueling Fiddlers / Pianafiddle)

Instagram

  • Do what makes you happy! This interview features WV Artist on Display, Rebecca Hambrick @peaceofmindwv in Lewisburg. Pick us up or visit HashtagWV.com
...
#lewisburg #lewisburgwv #simplygbv #gotowv #greenbriercounty #wv_igers #wv_captures #igers_of_wv #wvartist #shoplocally #smallbusinesswomen
  • Starting the day w/ the smoked salmon bowl and a good read featuring @retrodonutswv in this month’s paper. Pick us up or visit HashtagWV.com
...
#lewisburg #lewisburgwv #gotowv #igers_of_wv #wv_igers #simplygbv #greenbriercounty #eatlocally #retrodonuts #retrodonutsandmore #salmonbowl
  • Taste of our Town!!
...
#lewisburg #lewisburgwv #gotowv #greenbriercounty #wv_igers #igers_of_wv #eatlocally #toot2018 #toot #tasteofourtown #carnegiehall #andrewcarnegie #fundraiserevent #wehaveissues #hashtagwv #citypaper

Follow Us!

LBSPY ARTICLES

Wonder How HashtagWV Remains Free?

WONDER HOW HASHTAG LEWISBURG CITY PAPER REMAINS FREE? - Wondering how Hashtag Lewisburg City Paper gets published and distributed FREE every month in-print and online? Do we have wealthy parents or did one of us seduce a millionaire? No. Are we financed by bank loans or grant money? Nope, not that either. Until we hit it BIG in the lotto, every issue of HASHTAGWV comes […]