Daniel Herskovic’s first truffles were the size of golf balls — he had gone a bit overboard in his layering of ingredients. Clearly, the well-travelled chef needed some advice from the masters.
So he sought out and studied with the great chocolate luminaries of the United States and France: Andrew Shotts, Norman Love, Franck Kestener, Christophe Morel, Jerome Landrieu, and Lionel Clement. After many hours of training, Herskovic became an accomplished chocolatier in his own right, the truffles accurately sized and richly focused with inventive flavor and texture.
In 2008, he, together with his wife and business partner, Tamara — who brings design, event planning and culinary skills to the table — entered the Chicago Luxury Chocolate Salon in 2008. They went home with seven awards that day including “Best in Salon” and “Most Gifted Chocolatier.” Mayana Chocolate — “Mayana” meaning future in Spanish — officially became a company.
Known for its 16-piece truffle collection, which features a Bourbon Pecan Marzipan Cinnamon Ganache, as well as a somewhat more traditional Lime and Raspberry piece, the company also produces artisan candy bars (The Kitchen Sink, Fix Bar and Space Bar), toffee, marshmallows and Mayan spice popcorn.
Daniel and Tamara are committed to handcrafting artisanal premium confections that taste and look great. Last year the couple decided to relocate their manufacturing facility from Chicago to Spooner, Wis.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one kind of candy, what would it be?
It would be our very own Kitchen Sink Bar. The peanut butter, pretzel, caramel, and rich dark chocolate make it a perfect sweet and salty treat.
What’s the last cool thing you saw online?
It’s a video a friend took of my wife/business partner, Tamara, and I making the candy bars in our brand new chocolate workshop. You can view it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJa4HZWjtBs.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My mother encouraged me to sell women’s’ shoes. I guess selling bon bons is not too far off.
What’s the last book you read?
“Chocolate” by Ramon Morato. I find it to be a very inspiring book and the technical information in there is very in-depth and valuable.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Don’t get high on your own supply,” which was Michelle Pfeiffer’s advice to Al Pacino in Scarface.
What is your pet peeve?
I can’t think of one at this time. I am very fortunate to have a very supportive wife who is also my business partner.
If given the chance to choose anyone, whom would you like to collaborate with?
I would love to partner with a major upscale retailer or distributor to carry our line of artisan candy bars.
What excites you most about your job?
I love watching our line of candy bars get a beautiful coating of dark chocolate and then be beautifully packaged and sent off to happy customers across the country.