Meltdown: Chocolatier continues to make goodies, but for fun
Larry Jensen's brief career as a northwoods chocolatier was interrupted by heat, then health problems.
The Guthrie welder-turned chocolate-maker had a great Christmas shortly after being featured in an Enterprise story in the fall of 2011.
His chocolate business was booming in early 2012. He found a commercial oven at the Walker community center and turned out batches of cordials throughout the winter.
Then abnormally warm temperatures melted his dreams.
He had nowhere to store the chocolates and keep them cool until he could fill orders.
Taking them to farm markets was a nightmare. They were puddles of goo by the time he arrived.
During the summer of 2012, he took a job as a groundskeeper at La Salle State Recreation Area.
In the fall during a routine physical he discovered he had prostate cancer and subsequent surgery. He's still awaiting news that he beat it, but is optimistic while he awaits a doctor's official diagnosis.
"The kitchen, the chocolates and everything is pretty much on hold," he said. "Then my hip has been bothering me and the doctor said, 'Well, when do you want to get that replaced?'"
He'll have that done in early April.
Wife Paula, a metal sculptor, "has a couple really big projects," he reported.
Larry is doing some recreational baking, "some chocolates and I bought a nice chocolate tempering machine," he reported.
"It's kind of like steel," the former welder said. "You heat it up and cool it down and heat it back up again. Like your truffles or anything like your fancier chocolates where the outside shell has that snap to it. That's all created by tempering."
Jensen also bakes breads, which was the reason he entered Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Minneapolis.
"I've been experimenting" with bread recipes.
He said depending on how his hip surgery goes, he'll either return to La Salle or to the farmers market circuit with his bread.
Chocolates, for now, have been relegated to "hobby" status.