It was just a few short years ago that chocolatier Katy Priore started her boutique company Bark Chocolate which specializes in flavors of bark, that thin layer of chocolate often layered with interesting surprises. Katy comes from a sturdy culinary family, her mother was a successful Dallas restaurateur. Susie Priore ran the wildly successful Suze and Iris restaurants. Suze is still in business with a new owner, Gilbert Garza. It was Katy’s mother that inspired her to cook, especially pastry, at a very early age. In their kitchen she would forgo the typical toddler EZ Bake oven, instead baking cookies and other pastries with a big girl spatula in hand.
“I would follow mom around the kitchen all the time. I have pictures of me half naked wearing an apron baking cookies [we found the photo in question]. I loved baking, probably because I have a sweet tooth,” said Katy on a recent visit.
When Katy hit her teen years she worked at the family restaurants as hostess. When Susie moved to New Mexico and worked at the Tesuque Village Market located just outside Santa Fe. This is the cute little roadside market, restaurant, bar where Katy worked making the pastries. From New Mexico Katy went to California to work for Bhang Chocolates which is the largest producer of medical marijuana confections in the world. She is definitely our favorite little hippy girl. She didn’t stay with Bhang long before starting her practice in Hypno-therapy. This is where she learned more about the positive energies, love and miracles that she uses today in her own confections at Bark.
We chatted with Katy for a bit to learn more about what she is doing at Bark, and to find out about upcoming events that she is participating in this Valentines season.
Hi Katy! How did Bark come about?
I am a certified hypno-therapist, but I am not currently practicing. But I am actively putting intention into my food; positive energy, love, miracles. When I came back to Dallas I was wondering what I do with my life, and I was making a batch of peppermint bark as a Christmas present for a friend. It was then I was in this daydream trance where I saw myself making Bark. I wouldn’t have to go buy a bunch of molds, I could come up with different flavors by adding various toppings on the chocolate.
You really believe in positive energy.
There are times, like through the summer when it’s slow, I ask myself how I am going to make it. I just keep that positive attitude. Like why would I ever second guess myself? This is built with the foundation of positive thinking, and I realize it is just my mind telling me those things. It’s not true.
Where did you first sell your chocolate?
I am friends with Jules [Barsotti] who was just opening up Carbones, and he said he would sell my Bark there. That was my first spot.
Where can we find Bark now?
I am still in Carbones, but also at Bolsa Mercado, The Joule, Dallas Yoga Center, Pogos Wine, the Dallas Museum of Art, Salon 11*11, the Patrick O’Hara Salon and a few others. Soon we will be available through Artizone.
What is the biggest holiday for selling chocolate?
Definitely Christmas. They love that Peppermint Bark.
What are some other flavors we might enjoy?
Minty Moon is what started it all, with its dark and white chocolate swirls. A friend of mine whose kid’s middle name is Moonbeam helped with that name. They all have this fun story that goes with each name. Red Hot Mamma has cinnamon red hot hearts with dark and white swirls. Then Tesuque Toffee is a honey toffee with smoked sea salt. Campfire Crunch is a fun one made with marshmallows and Cinnamon Toast Cereal with 61% milk chocolate. Secret Stachio is made with pistachio, apricot and cranberry, and 38% milk chocolate. Berry White is white chocolate with gummy bears. All my flavors are made with 100% organic and GMO free chocolate.
You are doing a pop up for Valentines Day? Where you will be and what are you offering?
For the pop up I am doing all of my flavors, but I am combining forces with Sucre Sucre by Lucia. She makes French Macarons, but we will also be making cookies, and chocolate dipped champagne marshmallows together, and chocolate dipped candied bacon which is something I just came up with because I wanted to do this his and hers kind of thing. But everyone wants the bacon, and bacon loves everybody.
You may order Bark from Katy’s website, or check out the pop up February 13th from 11am to 8pm at 3001 Gaston (across from the Elbow Room). We will be chatting with Katy’s friend Lucia tomorrow to learn more about her macaron business, and definitively ind out the difference between a macaron and a macaroon.