Jim Mingo is many things. Carpenter. Snowboard instructor. Musician. The jobs are fun, sure things and they help pay the bills. But it’s another, sweeter job that’s earned him some attention lately.

Chocolatier.  

Owner of jmingo chocolates in Gray, Mingo creates made-to-order, hand-dipped chocolates, including about 70 kinds of truffles, stuffed chocolate-dipped strawberries, needhams and peanut butter balls. Have something of a specialized taste? He caters to that, too (Rosemary and sea salt truffles anyone?). 

You won’t find the chocolates in stores and Mingo doesn’t keep a Web site. For the last year he’s run the business completely by word-of-mouth. If you want to order a dozen jmingo chocolates, you’ll have to know someone who has his cell number.

Or read below. 

Name: Jim Mingo

Age: 58

Hometown: Gray

Single/married/relationship? Single

Job: Chocolatier/carpenter/snowboard instructor/musician

Name of your business: jmingo chocolates

How/why did you start jmingo chocolates? Friends suggested it to me after sampling my chocolates over time. There was a woman last year who had lived in Switzerland for 15 years, whose father was a manager for a chocolate company, who told me that though she had “good” chocolate over there she couldn’t recall any better than mine.   

Where can people find your chocolates? They can call to place an order or to get info (332-1498). I make everything special order so the product is fresh when my customers get them, then I make arrangements to meet and deliver them.  

Are you a chocolate fanatic? Not really. I like chocolate and have tasted every recipe I use, but I do not eat a lot of chocolates or any other sweet/dessert much at all. 

What’s the oddest food you’ve covered in chocolate? I have had a customer order for chocolate-covered grapes and orange slices, but the strangest are my recipes that use cayenne pepper or cardamom, even rosemary and sea salt! 

What goes best with chocolate? There are many interesting pairings of ingredients that I use . . . spices like cayenne, cardamom, tea, rosemary. As far as consuming something along with a truffle, there’s always champagne and wine, or I have been told that my cayenne pepper truffles go good with beer, too.  

What is the absolute worst thing to pair with chocolate? Another sweet. A truffle should be eaten slowly and by themselves so the flavors have the opportunity to seduce your palate. 

White chocolate — evil or not? Actually, white chocolate goes well with Bailey’s Irish Cream, fruit flavors like raspberry and strawberry and citrus flavors like lemon and orange. I also make a paradise truffle flavored with cream of coconut, lime zest and pineapple that’s quite tasty. 

Is chocolate recession-proof? Yes, we all have to indulge in things that make us feel good from time to time, and for very little money you can visit culinary paradise. 

What’s the most sinful thing you’ve ever created? That depends on who you ask. I make a coconutty chocolate dipping sauce for dipping macaroons that one woman had ideas of other uses for. Or perhaps my stuffed chocolate-dipped strawberries or my frozen chocolate mousse truffles. 

Is chocolate the best thing ever? It is. Dark chocolate is good for your body and my truffles provide a short journey to paradise.

Better movie: “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971) or “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (2005)? The first one.


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