HEXX Chocolate Paris Las Vegas marks Nevada’s entry into the exclusive world of artisan chocolates. Cacao beans, which only grow within 20 degrees of the equator (hence the double XX), are sourced from some of the top farms in Central and South America as well as Africa.
As a chef and head chocolate-maker at HEXX, Matthew Silverman is working with Executive Chef Matthew Piekarski to craft an American-style menu of contemporary and classic dishes from various regions around the country.
At HEXX, however, a big part of that experience will come from chocolate. Chocolate will actually be made on location, with varietals made from beans grown in Nicaragua, Mexico, Madagascar, Venezuela, Peru and several other countries. The flavors will be fresh and true to the beans, lending a new experience in tasting and flavor profiles for chocolate lovers. The chocolate will be integrated into various facets of HEXX, with savory elements introduced throughout the menu’s specialties.
Unlike many other types of chocolate, HEXX’s dark chocolate is created from only two ingredients: cacao beans and organic palm sugar; and HEXX’s milk chocolate is created from an organic combination of cacao bean, palm sugar, whole milk powder, cocoa butter and vanilla beans. Guests may watch and experience the process of chocolate making at the chocolate counter, Twenty XX Degrees, accessible through both the restaurant and retail shop.
The retail shop offers an array of dark and milk chocolates and merchandise for those of all ages, including HEXX’s line of handcrafted artisan chocolates, displayed by country and harvest date. A selection of “confexxions” that can be purchased by the pound, retro candy and unique brand apparel will be available. A café within the retail area will feature other products made with HEXX chocolate including homemade hot chocolate and an assortment of classic and signature ice cream and sorbet offerings.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one kind of candy, what would it be?
That’s easy. Chocolate! It’s my love of chocolate that led to the development of HEXX.
What was the last cool thing you saw online?
I saw an ice cream store in Italy that fills its cones with chocolate before filling them with ice cream. Amazing.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Honestly? I wanted to be a candy maker.
What issues concern you most about the confectionery industry and why?
Because my business is chocolate, we are reliant upon the cacao crops. There are many environmental issues affecting the crops, everything from weather patterns to ensuring they are farmed responsibly so as to not damage the crops. Because we are working with cacao farms in five different countries, we also make on-site visits to ensure we are working with farms where employees are treated fairly.
What’s the last book you’ve read?
The 2015 James Beard Foundation Book Award winner for Focus on Health: Cooking Light Mad Delicious: The Science of Making Good-for-You-Food Taste Amazing by High Road Craft Ice Cream founder, Keith Schroeder. They make the best ice cream, and pretty much from the moment we conceived HEXX we sought out a partnership with them – blending our chocolates with their ice cream.
What is your pet peeve?
In my business, its commercial chocolate. The cacao bean is burned to where the nuances from where they are grown are no longer recognizable. The natural flavors are covered up with so many additives that you can’t taste them.
What excites you most about your job?
I have a passion for creativity, and every day I walk into a workplace where I’m constantly challenged to be creative. I feel very lucky.