The CH-53 helicopter pilot-turned-chocolatier grins as he finishes pouring a chocolate mold. Aromas of rich dark chocolate, hazelnut, strawberry and caramel welcome guests to the open workroom in Boulder.
Originally from Loveland, BrandonBusch left Colorado during college for 10 years of service in the Marines. With deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, his home base was Hawaii. His home station, while he's the reserves as a forward air controller, is Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington.
Becoming a chocolatier might not seem to be the most obvious career choice for a Marine, but it was the path for Busch. “I have always loved to cook, but I wanted to understand pastry and baking better, so I went to school following active duty,” he says of his education at Johnson and Wales in Denver, where he graduated summa cum laude in 2015. “I was terrible at chocolate, and developed a mild obsession with it. After I got a little bit better, I realized that chocolate evokes a reaction like no other food, and that it's truly special.”
He bought Concertos in Chocolate in 2017, changed the name and began creating.“The quality was exactly what I was looking for, but I also wanted to offer many of my own products,” Busch says. “Likewise, we have been rolling out items since then, and rebranding the items we kept. I make many of the products, but I also have several talented chocolatiers that do much of the work. They also have a say in the creative process.”
After Lift Chocolates launched, Busch had a commanding officer place a patch on his flak jacket: naval aviator wings and call sign “Candy Man,” an appropriate nod to his sweet passion.
The quality and creativity found at Lift, which also creates the Boulder Chocolate bars found in Whole Foods stores in the Rocky Mountain region, sets the brand apart as a specialty gourmet chocolate brand. The Dark Cherry Cordials (Busch’s favorite) with Italian amarena cherries enrobed in dark, all-natural chocolate are akin to many of the creations that incorporate all-natural ingredients of the highest caliber for distinct flavor and attention to indulgent detail. Holiday creations for Halloween to Christmas, Valentine’s Day to Easter, or a “just because” sweet treat all utilize a high-touch elegance and lofty flavor, “Lifting,” the spirits of young and old alike.
Available online; at stores such as Whole Foods, small chains and independents; and at its retail space. It also offers corporate gifts and does custom orders.
6395 Gunpark Dr., Suite R
Boulder, CO 80301
Chad Chisholm is a freelance photographer and writer, authoring the Colorado Cocktail Cookbook and Unique Eats and Eateries of Denver.
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