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Galactic goodies

Chocolates by Kevan allows you to destroy your own Death Star, bite by bite

The dark side of chocolate: Chocolates by Kevan uses a “human gyroscope” to create a baseball-sized Death Star chocolate bar. PHOTO COURTESY OF KEVAN BASZCZEWSKI

By Melissa Komar

If you’re looking for something sweet to stuff in your Star Wars fan’s stocking or just want to savor the release of “The Last Jedi,” Chocolates by Kevan has you covered, in cocoa of course.
Fishtown resident Kevan Baszczewski, 43, is one of the vendors who will fulfill all your empirical needs at Riot Nerd’s Star Wars Brunch and Bazaar.
Baszczewski got serious about his business, Chocolates by Kevan, within the past year or so, but has had his hands in chocolate for years.
From 2003 to 2006, he was a product developer for Hershey before he dove into his own chocolate research and development.
His speciality is fresh fruits and nuts — you can find some of his creations on the menu at Martha’s — but he went over to the dark side in 2014 when a local bartender and friend gave him some Star Wars ice cube molds and asked him to make chocolate of galactic proportions.
Within a year, Baszczewski “started cranking out some Death Stars for local May the Fourth parties, and doing it for fun.”
The Death Star chocolates are available hollow or filled, and as evidenced by the films, the chocolate versions “are very difficult to make,” according to Baszczewski.
What sets the Chocolate by Kevan Death Star apart from any other on the market is the chocolate is one piece.
“To do that, I had to become a human gyroscope,” Baszczewski said. “These big companies pay $30,000 to have their mechanics build gyroscope machines for hollow Santas and hollow Easter bunnies, but I can’t do that, so I spin my hand and arm around in all different directions inside the mold while it’s cooling to make sure it’s evenly spread to get a perfect sphere, with the perfect thickness all around.”
Science is integral to the taste and the appearance.
“And, if that’s not hard enough, when you’re ready to take the mold off, you have to be careful not to destroy the Death Star,” Baszczewski said, “which is kinda cool to destroy the Death Star. I used to do it a lot, but I rarely do it anymore. You have to do it so gently. I had to modify all my molds. It’s so delicate.”
There’s an entire process of letting air get between the mold and the chocolate just to avoid the Death Star’s demise.
All the fine details of the Death Star are visible, including the equatorial ring, which is one of the more difficult aspects of making the chocolate.
“Aesthetically, it looks great and authentic,” Baszczewski said, “but from a sculptor’s point of view, it’s totally wrong. No one should even be attempting to have mold sticking into the piece like that. It’s so difficult.”
Pulling the final piece of the mold off, where the laser disk is located, is a five-minute process that requires a large amount of strength.
Fillings for the Death Star range from a truffle center, to peanut butter, to coconut and pineapple.
“You know it, I’ll fill it,” Baszczewski said. “I even filled it with a Flemish red ale truffle once.”
In addition to the Death Star, Baszczewski creates chocolate Millennium Falcons.
“That is a lot easier to make, but I’m still amazed by the detail that comes out,” he said. “It’ll cover your palm. I’ll be doing nougat Millennium Falcons.”
The Star Wars chocolates are crafted from Chocolates El Rey chocolate from Venezuela “because it tastes great, it’s organic, and it’s fair trade.”
Additionally, Baszczewski uses cocoa butter in many of his inclusions “because it’s a great natural preservative, it’s good for you, and it complements the chocolate.”
Although he has spent more than a year perfecting the Death Star, it’s the first time Chocolate by Kevans will have the baseball-sized chocolates available for purchase when a Star Wars movie is released.
“It makes for a heck of a big candy bar,” he said, joking. “I’m looking forward to doing this a lot more until Disney sues me… But for now, I’m looking forward to meeting R2-D2 at the bazaar.”

Chocolates by Kevan Death Stars will be available for purchase at the Star Wars Brunch and Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Buzz Cafe, 1800 N. Howard St. Hollow Death Stars cost $6 and filled are $8. For more details about Chocolate by Kevan, visit the Facebook page.

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