Brownies are a go-to, classic dessert. I like to think of brownies like an old, faithful friend. They have been with me since childhood and carried me through many a birthday celebration, the sudden “I need to bring a dessert to a dinner party and only have 30 minutes to spare!” freak out, and those “all-I-want-are-chocolate” kind of days alike. They are just a delightfully and perfectly simple dessert; nothing too fancy, but everything so classic. Tried and true, never to go out of style.
Derek, of Broma Brownie Company (formerly Boston Brownie Company) knows how to take this simple staple and amplify it to a whole new level. I am not joking. While always delicious, I think it is rare to find a brownie that literally makes your jaw drop. So what makes his brownies different you ask? My hope is that this interview informs you on the artisanal nature that brownies can take on, and also gives you a look into the heart behind Broma Brownie Co. You will soon learn these are no run-of-the-mill brownies. These are brownies filled with craft, honest ingredients and made by someone who knows food, lives food, and cares about giving you the best brownie experience you have ever had. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
O & G: So Derek, why brownies? Have they always been a love from childhood? Why not cookies or cupcakes?
D: Who doesn’t love brownies? Brownies are the most iconic dessert in America next to the apple pie, and one of the most nostalgic treats in America. Brownies can instantly bring you back to your childhood, sitting at your grandma’s kitchen table with a plate stacked full of brownies and tall cold glass of milk to wash them down. But we also found the history of the brownie very intriguing. The first brownie recipe was published in the 1896 Boston Cooking School Cook Book. We felt since the brownie was born in Boston that brownie needed proper representation. With that said I’m also a huge chocoholic!!!
O&G: What made you first say to yourself, “There needs to a new kind of brownie”?
D: The brownie market has become complacent with run of the mill brownies made copious amounts “dutched processed”; cocoa powder that has been chemically treated to extract bitterness. With everyone being more aware of what they’re putting into their bodies (present company included) we wanted to be honest with our ingredients and our business practices.
O&G: Where do you source most of your ingredients? I know you said many of them are local, so where do you find these?
D: I’ve been in the restaurant industry for 20+ years and have had the opportunity to work with some of Boston’s top Chefs. I was influenced by the chef’s insistent “farm to table” approach; this is many years before it became fashionable. Over years you learn who to buy from and where to look for new sources.
O&G: Alright…someone is taking their first bite of a Broma Brownie, what is the ideal reaction?
D: When they bite in I want them to relax their shoulders, close their eyes, tilt their head to one side, and make their “Ohhh” Face! Like it’s best thing they have ever tasted.
O&G: I feel like your brownies are much more than just a “brownie.” There is a lot of thought and art behind each brownie.
D: Our brownies are really about the chocolate and we base our creativity around that. Chocolate has natural inherent flavor profiles so we try to play off of them like our use of Bourbon & Cherries, Amber Rum & Raisins, Spices and Citrus.
O&G: I would love to hear a little bit more about the business behind the brownies. Can you lay out a bit of your story leading up to Broma Brownie Co.?
D: After being in the restaurant business for 20+ years I wanted to make a change but still wanted to be part of that industry which I love. My wife Kristin is a very talented classically trained pastry chef and she had a killer brownie recipe. So we tweaked and played with the recipe making it a little more contemporary and then it all came together and we knew we had a hit and with some encouragement from family, friends, and co-workers here we are.
O&G: Alright, so honestly what about running your own business has been unexpected (difficult or wonderful)?
D: Changing people’s perception of the brownie, which is both difficult and wonderful. There’s nothing like hearing someone say, “What’s so special about your brownies, brownies are brownies”? And then watching them make their “Ohh face” as they try one, it’s the ultimate feeling.
O & G: Finally, what is the best piece of advice given when starting Broma Brownie Company you hold on to?
D: Don’t listen to the “Nay Sayers” and cut them out of your life completely (sounds harsh but its true) and be honest! If your truly honest about what you create people will see that and it will help pave the way to your goals/success.
So now are you ready to go find the most delicious brownie ever? Oh…did we mention they are made with 100% organic, preservative free, locally sourced New England ingredients and contain 100% fair trade organic cacao. (AKA Everything good in life!) Don’t deny yourself it’s goodness any longer. You need to go find yourself some Broma Brownie Co. brownies!
Derek will be joining us at Olives & Grace (81 Pembroke Street) on April 19th for a brownie tasting. Please come on by the shop and get a chance to talk with Derek and taste Broma Brownies for yourself!
Find more info on the event here.