Prickly-pear truffles? Tim Kellogg adds a Western twist to an age-old art.
by Janet Webb Farnsworth
photo by Jessica Case Wagner
Dressed in Wranglers, a snap-front shirt, and a black cowboy hat, Tim Kellogg cuts the figure of a typical cowboy. And with his lean build and friendly smile, this ranch hand and former saddle-bronc rider fits the bill. The story of how Kellogg became an accomplished confectioner, however, is less straightforward.
In 2004, Kellogg wanted a new bronc saddle but lacked funds to buy one. His grandmother had taught him to make chocolates as a child, and Kellogg’s mother suggested that he make some to sell at the Art in the Park event in Cody, Wyo. The chocolates were a huge hit, and word spread quickly about his confections. Soon after, Tim the saddle-bronc rider became Tim the chocolatier.
Today Tim runs his business, the Meeteetse Chocolatier, from a storefront in this small ranching community 30 miles southeast of Cody. He still uses his grandmother’s closely guarded family recipes and has added a few creations of his own, including Coors-flavored truffles. What started out as a joke around the corrals has become a beer-flavored favorite in his popular Happy Hour Sampler ($14). His sage and huckleberry-flavor and prickly-pear cactus truffles are also popular, as is a unique creation called Devil’s Tower, a milk chocolate tower with white chocolate drizzles and a milk-chocolate cream filling.
Kellogg uses organic dairy products and Belgian and French chocolates in his products, and is meticulous about crafting and caring for each piece. He sells his chocolates, truffles, and other treats from the shop and ships orders from November through Easter, when the weather is cool. (He won’t ship during the warmer months.) No additives or preservatives are used, and Kellogg advises customers to enjoy his treats fresh (within a week of purchase) and to not refrigerate or freeze them.
“I have two rules in the store,” he says. “Number one is ‘quality, not quantity.’ I would rather have one case of outstanding chocolates than six cases of bland. And the number two rule is ‘fear no chocolate.’ I enjoy pairing chocolate with regional flavors such as prickly-pear cactus and sage.”
Life these days isn’t all a box of chocolates for this cowboy, though. Kellogg closes up shop each January and heads to Denver for the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo, and he still does some ranch work, and even occasionally models Western wear, which is a natural fit considering this cowboy is rarely without his hat.
“If I’m not wearing it, then I must be asleep,” he says.