The Three Chocolatiers
By: Harris Tobias
Once there was a village surrounded by tall mountains and dark forests.
Overlooking this village stood a castle where the Baron and his family lived.
Below the castle, in the village, there was a street filled with small shops— a bakery, a butcher, a wine seller, a cozy inn and a candy store among others.
Like all the stores in the village, the candy store had been in the same family for many generations.
The Brulee family took great pride in their candy making tradition. They passed down this knowledge from one generation to the next and now that the three Brulee sons were grown, they would take over the business and allow their parents to retire.
The brothers loved the candy business, but like young people the world over, they longed for a life of romance and adventure.
Everyone loved Brulee’s candies. The store was a fixture in the village and attracted people from as far away as the capital city. Generations of children had grown up eating as much Brulee candy as they could get their hands on.
The candies were always the best quality because the Brulees never skimped on their ingredients, as a result, the store was always busy. Gossip had it that the king himself would send his servants to purchase candies for the royal candy dish. Of course that might have just been a rumor, you know how little towns are.
But one thing was certain, the store was popular and everyone assumed that the Brulee family was well off and enjoyed a life of comfort and prosperity. The truth was quite different. The Brulees knew everything there was to know about making candy except one important thing, how to make money at it.
The candy business was a very difficult business to be in. To make the best candy required the best ingredients, the best flavorings, the best sugar, the finest liquors and cordials and cocoa beans and that was expensive.
It was so expensive that the family actually lost money year after year and as a result, they were very poor. It looked as though the three brothers would be the last of the family to make candies. The Brulees were broke.
Now the three brothers worked in the store after school. They learned how to turn cocoa powder into chocolate and turn the chocolate into beautiful bonbons, truffles and profiteroles. They learned to make caramel and fudge and, licorice, and all-sorts. How to make toffee and lollipops, gumdrops, gummy bears, sucking candies of all kinds. Everyone agreed that the brothers would soon take over the family business and keep the candy making tradition going. It soon became apparent that each boy had a knack for making a certain kind of candy.
Bartholomew, the middle boy, found that he was a master of the gooey, gummy candies like caramels and gummy bears, gum drops, nougat and licorice. He could make a nougat almost as creamy as his caramels, and his caramels were simply not to be believed.
And Clyde, the baby of the family, turned out to be an absolute genius when it came to chocolate. There was nothing young Clyde couldn’t do with chocolate.
Dark, rich chocolate rolled into bars or poured into molds. Creamy thick milk chocolate made into bonbons and truffles were a delight to the eye and a treat for the tongue. He even dabbled in white chocolate which was considered quite radical at the time.
The three brothers and everyone else in the town referred to the boys as ‘The Three Chocolatiers”. And, while not exactly accurate, wasn’t that far from the truth.
One day, word reached the brothers that a wicked troll had come down from the mountain and was terrorizing the local farmers. This troll was eating all of the food, destroying the crops and making life miserable for everyone— typical wicked troll behavior.
This was, of course, a mountain troll, one of a family that lived in the high mountains. They usually kept to themselves but, every now and again, one would come down from his mountain cave and cause trouble.
After eating everything and everyone in sight, it would go back up the mountain leaving a trail of destruction and tears. It was considered one of life’s many misfortunes like drought or flood or avalanche.
There wasn’t much anyone could do to get rid of the trolls. Humans are weak, puny creatures compared to trolls, especially mountain trolls who are the biggest, meanest and most wicked trolls of all.
The villagers appealed to the king for help, but the king was far away and troll prevention was not high on his list of priorities. The king passed the problem to the Duke who, busy with other matters, passed the problem to the Earl, who passed it to the Count, who told the Marquis who pestered the Viscount. All of these officials tut-tutted and shook their heads in sympathy with the villagers but, took no action. To be fair, there wasn’t much anyone could do. By the time they raised an army to chase the troll away, the troll would already have done his wicked worst and disappeared back up the mountain.
The troll problem fell to the Baron whose castle rose above the village. When the Baron’s own farm was trampled by the troll, he was forced to act.
He offered a reward of a thousand guilders to anyone who could drive the troll away for good and, as an added incentive, he promised the hand in marriage one of his three beautiful daughters. The daughter’s names were Butterscotch, Vanilla and Hazelnut, named after their mother’s favorite flavors. The sisters were a pretty as their names and, like all young people, hoped for some romance in their lives before their father, Baron Eclair, could marry them to some stuffy nobel or other.
The brothers talked amongst themselves as they worked in the candy kitchen. It was Clyde, the youngest brother, who first raised the subject.
He was stirring a big pot of dark chocolate and letting his imagination take flight. “Wouldn’t it be something if we could solve the wicked troll problem and collect the reward? Then the Brulee family would be remembered for something more than causing cavities. We’d be heroes. We’d have enough money to keep the business going for many years plus we’d get to marry one of the Baron’s beautiful daughters.
I can see it now. Candy makers save town from troll.”
“And live happily ever after. It’s a nice story, brother, but quite frankly I don’t see how candy making prepares one for battling trolls,” This little speech was delivered by Bartholomew who was just filling a huge tray of fresh nougat and setting it out to cool.
“That’s true,” said Aaron, “we’re not really fighters despite our swashbuckling nickname. What, you think I could run the troll through with a peppermint stick? Or maybe you could imprison it in chocolate, Clyde. How does chocolate covered troll sound?”
“That’s not a totally ridiculous idea,” said Clyde. “I mean about using our skills against the troll. I hear they have a powerful craving for sweets. I’ll bet a troll would drop everything for a taste of my mousse truffle.”
“So you’re suggesting we feed the creature until it falls down dead?’ asked Bartholomew who was shooing flies away from his freshly poured tray of toffee. One fly landed on the gooey sweet and got itself stuck. Bartholomew pulled it off and tossed it in the sink with a disgusted look. “My sticky candies are like flypaper.” he added.
“Now that gives me an idea,” said Aaron, “I just thought of a way we can use our skills to rid us of the troll.” And he outlined his idea to his brothers.
They talked and argued the rest of the afternoon, but when they were through and the day was done, the Three Chocolatiers had worked out a clever plan to drive away the wicked troll.
The troll was enormous, fifteen feet tall and as broad as an oak tree. This was no nasty little bridge troll that sleeps under a foot bridge and pops out to scare travelers, no this troll was bigger and meaner than anything and he knew it. He stomped around in some poor farmer’s wheat field, ate all the livestock in the barn and would have eaten the farmer as well if the poor wretch hadn’t run off with his family.
The troll’s name was Storm and he was about to take a short nap when he noticed three funny looking humans in big white aprons approaching. It was the three chocolatiers dressed in their best white aprons and toques.
When the Troll saw them he gave them a fierce look then he threw back his head and laughed.
“And what do you three humans want? A thrashing? Or should I just eat you now?”
“Oh no good sir,” said Clyde. “We are three candy makers from a small village nearby. We’ve come to offer you some of our fine candy in hope you will leave us in peace.”
“Candy, you say? Storm likes candy, give it here.” Storm got to his feet and held out an enormous hand. Aaron put a huge chocolate bon bon about the size of a birthday cake in the troll’s outstretched hand. The troll finished it off in three bites and licked his lips. “Mmmm, good. Storm like chocolate. More?”
“Oh yes, Mr. Storm, we have brought much more. If you’ll follow us we’ll take you to it.”
The great troll lumbered after the three chocolatiers. They led Storm through a flower filled field to a shady spot besides a stream and there, set out on a big caramel colored blanket, was an amazing assortment of candies made extra large for the big troll. When Storm saw the pile of troll sized candies, he ran ahead of the brothers and plopped himself down on the blanket and greedily began stuffing the confections into his mouth without even stopping to admire their beautiful craftsmanship. So intent was he on his eating, he didn’t notice that he was slowly sinking into the blanket.
When he finished the last bite and his sweet tooth was satisfied, Storm realized that he was stuck and was slowly sinking deeper into the blanket. Already caramel covered his thighs and was creeping up to his waist.
“What’s this??” the troll hollered, “What have you humans done? You think you can trick me?” And he gave a mighty heave with his giant arms which promptly sank to his elbows in the sticky stuff. “What is this stuff?” Storm bellowed pulling his arms out one at a time.
“It’s caramel,” answered Bartholomew.
“You’re sitting in a vat of it”, added Aaron.
“We thought you liked caramel,” said Clyde.
“Do I?” asked Storm tasting the gooey stuff for the first time. “Mmmm, I do like caramel,” and Storm began licking the candy from his hands.
“Mmmm,” he said and began eating handfuls of Bartholomew’s famous caramel. In no time he had eaten a large hole in the blanket and was shoveling down the candy as fast as he could swallow.
“Egad,” said Clyde, “I hope you made enough caramel, brother. How much candy can one troll eat?”
“It’s time to finish him off,” said Aaron and he dug out a bow and arrows he had hidden behind a bush. These were no ordinary arrows. Aaron had made them from hard sugar candy in several flavors. The bow he made from candy cane with a licorice string. He mounted a lime flavored arrow on the bow and…
Well, I won’t describe what happened next but suffice it to say that Storm and the rest of his family were never seen in that part of the world again.
Word of the troll’s defeat spread quickly throughout the land. The three brothers were celebrated as heroes and a big dinner was held in their honor by Baron Eclair. The brothers sat at a big table alongside the Baron’s lovely daughters, Butterscotch, Vanilla and Hazelnut. Before the meal was over, the sisters and brothers were in love.
The Baron presented a chest filled with golden guilders to the brothers and the assembled dignitaries cheered wildly. Then the Baron raised his glass and made a toast, “Long live the three chocolatiers; long live the Brulee family, long live our little village.”
“Hooray,” cheered the assembled guests.
Well, I suppose you can guess how this story ends. The Brulee boys and the E’Clair girls were married. With six hands making and selling candies, the shop did better than ever and when the king himself stopped in to buy a box of truffles one day, well their fortune was assured.
And so the Three Chocolatiers and Butterscotch, Vanilla and Hazelnut Brulee lived happily ever after. Mmmm.
Special thanks to Harris Tobias for providing us this wonderful book.