I've been craft-obsessed my whole life, experimenting with everything from jewelry and metalsmithing to fiber arts, writing and cooking.
My top inspirations are:
*My grandma (who taught me all about crochet and Chilean cooking)
*Colors and shapes
My beau is also an artist specializing in Dichroic Glass fusing and ceramics. He has had his own sterling silver jewelry business since 1986 and together we've gone on buying trips to Bali, Thailand and Tucson (not to mention other places--travel is a passion of ours). Visit his page here: http://venusianartglass.etsy.com
Between the two of us we've amassed quite a large collection of surplus jewelry making supplies. I'm listing those here: http://malenamaggi.etsy.com
We currently have our own artisan chocolate shop in Berkeley where we hand-make sweets fresh on site. For that, visit http://thexocolatebar.com
For my own jewelry and other crafts, visit http://Malenajewels.etsy.com
This is the technique I use for making a basic agave nectar ganache. Agave nectar has a luxurious mouthfeel but is extremely sweet. I compensate by pairing it with ingredients that are the opposite of sweet (bitter, sour, salty, etc). The goal is to achieve balance.
In this recipe I'm combining the agave nectar with deep dark chocolate, kashmiri chili and sea salt. I like kashmiri chili because of its bright tangy flavor--it's like cayenne crossed with paprika. The finished ganache is delectably gooey and deeply flavorful. It's sweet, salty, chocolatey, and spicy as it unfolds in your mouth.