Central Blue Mountains Rotary are fortunate to have hosted many interesting Guest Speakers over recent months.  We thank them for their time and effort in contributing to the overall success of our club meetings.
Wednesday March 14th 2018
Jodie van der velden ("Josophans")
With the assistance of sturdy helpers,
Jodie explains the history and process of Chocolate making
Hannah and Jodie proudly display their Gold Medals
Jodie proudly displays some of her delights.
Jodie Van Der Velden, well known Leura Chocolatier and founder of 'Josophan's Fine Chocolates spoke about the history and process of chocolate making.  Jodie told how she started making chocolate at nights in what is now the kitchen of 'Madeline's Coffee Shop' in the Mall at Leura.  The name Josophan's  derives from the names of Jodie and her two daughters, Sophie and Hannah.  She started making chocolate 10 years ago.
In that time the name 'Josophan's' has become synonymous with best of chocolate both here and abroad.  Jodie is now a judge at such places as the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
The following extract from the Lithgow Mercury gives an insight into Jodie's success internationally.
Josophan's have struck gold
JOSOPHAN’S Fine Chocolates have again brought the spotlight to the Blue Mountains region by winning a World Association of Chefs Gold Medal.  Founded in France in 1928, the Association is widely regarded as the leading authority on global cuisine.  The Association recently officiated the Dilmah Real High Challenge in Australia, a world wide culinary competition with a goal of creating tea focused contemporary interpretations of High Tea, whilst incorporating tea in gastronomy. 
Jodie Van Der Velden and daughter Hannah Van Der Velden, represented Josophan’s 
Fine Chocolates of Leura in the Australian leg of the competition, and competed in Sydney on  June 18. Jodie and Hannah were required to prepare and serve 10 components of  their chocolate focused high tea, including six food components and four tea based drinks.  In just 30 high pressured minutes, Jodie served six dishes (3 savoury and 3 sweet) to the panel of judges, paired with a tea based cocktail, mocktail, chai tea and Watte black tea, prepared and served by Hannah.
With an emphasis on using ethically sourced food, local products and food produced by family owned businesses, Jodie and Hannah used an array of local/ethical products including olive oils from the Megalong Valley and Mudgee, nuts from Mt Wilson and Orange, local honey, Fair Trade certified Callebaut Belgian chocolate and single plantation, directly sourced Michel Cluizel French chocolate. 
Whilst the judges were impressed overall, exceptional dishes they made special note of included ‘Tea and Scones’ which Jodie described as a play on the traditional high tea fare.  “ I created a layered dessert served in a small rounded glass with a base of a berry tea infused compote,” Jodie said.
“The tea consisted of fresh raspberries and strawberries, topped with a rose and French vanilla tea infused white chocolate crème brulee light cream, sprinkled with beautifully aromatic crumbled Earl Grey Tea scones. “I used three beautiful teas in the dish, so it was definitely ‘tea and scones’ but without the cup of tea! ”
Impressing the Dilmah company founder and owner M. J. Fernando’s son and judge 
Dillhan with their tea making was no mean feat, however he gave glowing feedback about the extraordinary Chai Tea crafted by Hannah, using a combination of teas, spices and local Malfroy honey. The Chai was served with a comforting and spicy milk chocolate dessert with a caramelised rice bubble and hazelnut base, rich milk chocolate cremeux, coconut crème, and ginger and cinnamon biscuit crumb with caramelized hazelnuts.
The competition moved across five Australian states, and with hundreds of competitors, only seven gold medals were awarded in the Professional category Australia wide, primarily to five star hotels. Jodie and Hannah’s recipes will be published in the Dilmah High Tea book next year.
'Josaphane's' has now branched out into the 'Gingerbread House' cafe store in Katoomba.
To read more click on these links;