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Duluth confectioner brings chocolate knowledge and samples to the library

The assortment of flavors made by 185Chocolat ranges from Triple Chocolate to Lucious Lemon to Caramel Knowledge. Each truffle is hand-painted. Creator Heidi Ash emphasizes the beauty in these treats. “There’s not enough beauty in the world,” she says. “I want to make everything beautiful.” (Photo by Naomi Yaeger/Budgeteer News)1 / 3
“Chocolate lady” Heidi Ash gushes about her “Happy Beans,” handmade chocolate with coffee ganache filling. 2 / 3
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There’s one love that many people cannot resist, no matter how hard they try: chocolate. Whether it has caramel, a sweet lemon cream or a raspberry cordial waiting to ooze out, chocolate’s rich taste is complementary.

This sweet complement is the focus of an upcoming summer program for adults at the Duluth Public Library on July 7, which happens to be National Chocolate Day. The event will feature Heidi Ash, local confectioner and owner of 185Chocolat, LLC.

Ash is far more than a chocolate connoisseur. She is a survivor. Her company, 185Chocolat, is so-named because she was the 185th recipient of a heart transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. She shows her gratitude for the life she was given through chocolate. A portion of the profits go to the Charity Transplant Fund.

“It was so joyous to live and chocolate is so celebratory,” Ash said. “I thought it was a great name for a business.”

Ash began her company with some standards in mind.

“I found a Snickers bar in my fridge. It was four years old and it looked the same,” Ash said. “That scared me.

I liked chocolate, but I didn’t like all of the preservatives in chocolate, so I started making my own.”

The chocolatier set out to find the best ingredients for her truffles.

“I try to keep things as pure as possible,” Ash said. “I use some organic chocolates. I use lemon rind from the coop. I use organic coffee. The cream is cream without growth hormones.”

Her purest ideals was dead set against corn syrup.

“I just don’t like corn syrup. I’ve never made a recipe with it,” Ash said. “I look specifically for recipes without corn syrup and I found them in French cookbooks, because I never wanted to learn with corn syrup. It’s not something I want in my products.”

With this emphasis on natural foods and pure ingredients, Ash got to work designing and creating her chocolate delights. One of her most popular confections is the “Happy Bean,” a chocolate drop filled with coffee ganache.

“They’re crazy, you bite in and get that burst of coffee,” Ash said. “They are very addicting too.”

Ash’s truffles are hand- painted gems with varying flavors from “Caramel Knowledge” to “Espresso Roast” to “Honey Thai,” the idea for which actually came from an Italian cookie.

“I mainly get my inspiration from different foods, or what would amuse me,” Ash said. “People will get used to eating what they are used to eating, and this is so different. I get the ‘Oh my God’ reaction a lot.”

Kathy Bushey, organizer of the event at the library, is most excited about trying Ash’s different confections.

“We’re going to have two kinds available, regular chocolate and a vegan kind,” Bushey said. “I wanted give people the opportunity to see what that tasted like, too.”

What: Celebrate National Chocolate Day

Where: Main Library Green Room, 520 W. Superior St.

When: Monday, July 7, 6 p.m.

Admission free