There’s a rodeo cowboy out in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming who’s making waves as a skilled chocolatier.
When we heard about the Meeteetse Chocolatier, we simply had to see for ourselves. We drove 30 miles south of Cody, Wyoming, through rolling high desert to the tiny town of Meeteetse (population 327, elevation 5,797). This little village is exactly two streets with a scattering of Western-style buildings complete with wooden sidewalks and, there on Main Street, we found Meeteetse Chocolatier.
Back in 2004, Tim Kellogg was a rodeo bronc rider in need of a new saddle that cost upwards of $1500. He didn’t have the money so his mom suggested he make some truffles and brownies based on his grandmother’s recipe to sell at the Cody Stampede. Tim didn’t think it was a great idea. However, when he couldn’t figure another way to come up with the money, he relented. His chocolate treats were an instant success and he sold out. As they say, the rest is history.
Tim is still a rodeo bronc rider and a ranch hand. These days, he divides his time between rodeoing, ranching, and tempering chocolate. More and more, you’ll find him in the chocolate kitchen hand dipping chocolates, making ganache, or baking those luscious brownies that started it all eight years ago.
Unfortunately, when realfoodtraveler.com editors visited Meeteetse Chocolatier, Tim was out ranching. It was, after all, fall and there’s lots to do to get a spread ready for Wyoming’s harsh winters. The woman behind the counter was nice enough, but she wouldn’t allow us to take photos of the shop or chocolate. She told us Tim makes everything by hand himself and that he uses excellent quality chocolate like Belgian, Honduran, and Peruvian, matching the chocolate with the flavors he’s using and the results he wants to achieve. He doesn’t use any preservatives or artificial flavors and, to ensure the freshness and quality of his products, he won’t allow other shops to sell his products. During the cold months, he’ll ship throughout the U.S.
Meeteetse Chocolatier makes a full line of truffles, Belgian chocolates, chocolate bark (in flavors like pumpkin, cranberry, Oreo, ginger, and mint), truffle brownies, and chocolate-covered pretzels. He often uses flavors like sage that reflect his high desert surroundings.
His packaging is clever and fitting with his cowboy theme – rough-looking cardboard boxes with red “bandana” paper and tied with jute.
We sampled two of Meeteetse Chocolatier’s signature products: his custom truffles and his truffle brownie. While we’ve seen more sophisticated chocolate dipping and decorating, we couldn’t fault his silky ganache and the deep, rich flavors he’s able to achieve. The man has the palate for creating interesting flavors and pairing them with just the right chocolate.
His Sage Truffle has an earthy, herbal flavor that was surprisingly pleasing. His Coors Truffle, another of his “regional” flavors, features a soft ganache with a subtle tang from the beer. The Huckleberry Truffle’s ganache is even softer and comes with a subtle berry taste. The Autumn Truffle, which is available September and October and one of this reviewer’s favorites, has a complex combination of spicy cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger that’ll make your tongue dance. The Bailey’s Truffle, a standard in today’s chocolatier’s offerings, has clear notes of the creamy liqueur , but is a bit sweet for our taste. The Chipotle Truffle isn’t for the faint of heart and has a strong kick of heat that sneaks up at the end.
We also sampled Tim’s Dark Chocolate Brownie with Ganache as frosting and it was seriously delicious. This is the brownie that launched Tim into business and it’s easy to see why it’s successful. First, the five-inch brownie is big and it’s 60% brownie, 40% ganache topping. The brownie has a nice tooth– neither too dense nor too cakey—and has a deep chocolate richness that’s the hallmark of really great brownies. However, it’s the ganache he uses for frosting that really elevates this brownie. It’s a quarter inch thick layer of velvety softness with a decadent dark chocolate flavor.
Real Bottom Line: If you’re in Cody, Wyoming, take the drive out to Meeteetse and sample Meeteetse Chocolatier’s goodies. If you’re not, put Wyoming on your radar for a trip. Or, save the airfare and order from Tim’s easy-to-use online shop. He’ll have you hollering “Yee haw!” in no time. – Reviewed by Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor, Photos by Anne Weaver, RFT Editor