Made in Georgia: Atlanta truffle master is willing to share his knowledge

Raspberry and strawberry crunch white chocolate truffles are one of Temo Foods' offerings for Valentine’s Day. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

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Raspberry and strawberry crunch white chocolate truffles are one of Temo Foods' offerings for Valentine’s Day. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

Thomas Numprasong’s first hourly job in the restaurant world was as dishwasher at a bagel shop in 1994.

In 1999, having graduated from high school with plans to play guitar in a metal band, he was working as a prep cook when he was told to prepare creme brulee. It was so successful that desserts were added to his responsibilities.

So, when Numprasong’s dad said, “Go to school or you have nowhere to live,” he chose culinary school, graduating from Johnson & Wales University with a bachelor of science in baking and pastry arts.

He subsequently served as executive pastry chef at Canoe, and he went on to teach classes in baking and pastry at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

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Thomas Numprasong of Temo Foods is a classically trained pastry chef who creates artisan chocolate truffles. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

Thomas Numprasong of Temo Foods is a classically trained pastry chef who creates artisan chocolate truffles. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

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Thomas Numprasong of Temo Foods is a classically trained pastry chef who creates artisan chocolate truffles. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

When Le Cordon Bleu closed its campus in Atlanta, Numprasong made a move into the world of private dinner parties and cooking classes, and, in early 2019, he added artisan chocolate truffles to the mix. He said he really didn’t expect the truffles to take off as a business; he just made some for fun, posted photos on social media, and, when people asked where to buy them, he started producing them for sale.

Enter the pandemic. Private dinner parties slowed to a crawl, but the chocolate business picked up, and now he has clients who order chocolates each month. Around holidays, like Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, the orders come flying in.

“I really try to come up with things I think are creative, but not so far off the track that people wouldn’t want to eat it,” Numprasong said. “And, certainly, nothing too odd. For example, I will never make fish sauce chocolates.”

However, he is experimenting with Japanese flavors, like matcha and red bean paste, for what he expects to be an Asian-themed box.

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To make these chocolate bars, Thomas Numprasong uses a piping bag to fill molds with ruby chocolate. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

To make these chocolate bars, Thomas Numprasong uses a piping bag to fill molds with ruby chocolate. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

caption arrowCaption
To make these chocolate bars, Thomas Numprasong uses a piping bag to fill molds with ruby chocolate. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

Creating these flavors, and then producing quantities of truffles, takes time. First, there’s the experimenting with recipes and combinations in his home kitchen. “It can take one day or several,” he said. “Some things just don’t come out the way I envision, like the pumpkin caramel truffle I wanted to offer around Thanksgiving. It just never sold me on being like a delicious pumpkin pie.”

Numprasong tries his ideas out on his wife, Stephanie. “She’s a super taster, and detects things I might miss. I don’t always agree, but I find she’s usually right.”

Once he has the right combination, he moves to his shared commercial kitchen space to start production. Molds are decorated with colored cocoa butters, using air brushes, sponges, skewers and other tools.

Then, chocolate is poured in to make the shell. Once that is cooled, it’s time to add the individual components, each of which has to be handmade. Since as many as four different components can go into each truffle, it can take a day, or even two, to make just one variety of truffle. Then, it’s on to the next.

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Thomas Numprasong allows excess chocolate to drip out of truffle molds, just one step in making artisan chocolates. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

Thomas Numprasong allows excess chocolate to drip out of truffle molds, just one step in making artisan chocolates. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

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Thomas Numprasong allows excess chocolate to drip out of truffle molds, just one step in making artisan chocolates. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

This year, his Temo Foods is offering two Valentine assortments: a 15-piece box with five different flavors, including raspberry and strawberry crunch white chocolate and dark chocolate cherry cordial; and a nine-piece box with three flavors of truffles, including passion fruit and caramel dark chocolate and caramelized Georgia pecan crunch milk chocolate.

He also is offering a ruby chocolate bar with freeze-dried raspberries, crunchy white chocolate pearls, candied pistachios and a dark chocolate heart. “Ruby chocolate is relatively new and naturally pink in color, with a fruity taste,” Numprasong said. “I think it’s pretty awesome.”

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Chocolate shells hardened, each truffle is filled individually. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

Chocolate shells hardened, each truffle is filled individually. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

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Chocolate shells hardened, each truffle is filled individually. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

Because he loves teaching, Numprasong is quite happy to share his knowledge. On Feb. 12, he’ll be offering a Valentine’s chocolate truffle class for Cook’s Warehouse. And, he’s working on his business plan, with thoughts of opening a retail storefront at some point. Until then, he’s staying in his shared kitchen, and applying his creativity to dreaming up yet more decadent chocolate truffles to tempt his customers.

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For Valentine’s Day, Temo Foods is offering a raspberry ruby chocolate bar with a candied pistachio dark chocolate heart. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

For Valentine’s Day, Temo Foods is offering a raspberry ruby chocolate bar with a candied pistachio dark chocolate heart. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

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For Valentine’s Day, Temo Foods is offering a raspberry ruby chocolate bar with a candied pistachio dark chocolate heart. Courtesy of Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

Credit: Kyle Reynolds

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