In Episode 10 we talk luxury chocolates, the great outdoors (not the John Candy movie), and the hazards of being the man to invent (and huff) leaded gasoline.
That’s right, we’re going to William Dean Chocolate and Bill Jackson’s! With bonus section on Thomas Midgley, who some call the most destructive human being to live.
Transcript at the bottom of this page!
William Dean Chocolates
William Dean Chocolates
Technology is Scary
Invented CFC (ozone killer), leaded gasoline (human brain killer) and a contraption that ended up strangling himself.
Overall though, he did help progress us as a civilization.
We wouldn’t be where we are now without Freon (refrigerants) and other CFCs (aresol propellants), and leaded gasoline.
Great Things Tampa Bay is hosted and produced by Kyle Sasser.
There was no paid advertising in this episode. All recommendations are given based on personal experiences.
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Kyle: 00:12 Welcome to Great Things Tampa Bay Podcast about great eats, great places and great people in the Greater Tampa Bay area and your host, Kyle Sasser, Tampa Bay native, realtor and a pretty good guy, I’d like to think on occasion. I’m joined here by my lovely and beautiful wife Abby.
00:30 Great for you to tune in to Episode Nine. She made an appearance over there and I managed to convince her to come on to Episode 10 as well. You know, Ten’s a big number right. You’ve been doing this for a few months.
Thank you for taking us along on your commute to work. I know the new Game of Thrones season just started. So I do appreciate you taking some time every day to give us a listen instead of talking about all the madness that is Game of Thrones. I’d also like for you to come talk to us on social media. You can go to our web site, GreatThingsTB.com. And there is a Get Social link at the top and there we have our Great Things Tampa Bay discussion group on Facebook. We’re over 500 people currently so jump on their tropes and recommendations. You will actually have a place to post all these pictures you take of your e-mails. We would love for you to share it with us. And also just like we do have our new voicemail line. So you can just call us up at 727-440-4455, and just leave some voicemail. It can be good or bad, happy or sad. We like hearing from you. So give us a call.
01:38 Segment 1. William Dean Chocolates.
01:43 This past Saturday, Abby and I, we went to William Dean Chocolates which is located up at 2790 West Bay Drive and Bellaire Bluffs, and it’s on the corner of Indian Rocks and West Bay. What’s that restaurant you love that’s up there?
Abbie: 01:57 E & E Steak Out Grill
Kyle: 02:01 It’s across the street from E & E. So how did you find out about William Dean Chocolates?
Abbie: 02:04 A girl friend of mine actually gave them to me as a gift. A few years back and when I opened them up they were in beautiful packaging and the most beautiful, interesting chocolates, when I opened them up. I thought they were so delicious and I had to learn more about where these were from. And since my husband is a dessert lover and chocoholic…
Kyle: 02:23 Guilty.
Abbie: 02:24 I sometimes will buy him nice boxes of chocolates so because I enjoy them so much as I’m not necessarily a sweets person I decided to go back and buy some for Kyle.
Kyle: 02:43 [Inaudible]
02:47 Yeah, the dogs trying to help us file away some papers. So the designs of these things are awesome. They’re like green with swirls, somewhere like purple, with like airbrush, Paisley designs on them.
Abbie: 02:53 They’re wild. They’re just fluorescent colors. They’re so interesting. Actually they’re famous at William Dean for not just the deliciousness but also the fact they were in Hunger Games.
Kyle: 03:03 Yes. So yes the lady with the crazy headdresses and the makeup and all that stuff. They were fans, William Dean. Don’t hold that against them.
So, yes, it’s a special place you know and it’s kind of her own local artisan chocolates here. Can’t recommend them enough. But they do offer classes as well which is what we went and did on Saturday. So we did the laminated dough, and for those who don’t know laminated those are going to be used for croissants, sticky buns. What else did we have there?
Abbie: 3:33 Kouign amann?
Kyle: 03:34 That thing that they can’t pronounce? Yep. Pane Chocolate, which is basically a chocolate inside of a croissant, our personal favorite.
Abbie: 03:43 Almond croissants.
Kyle: 03:45 And they also did some savory stuff with some parmesan, and some…
Abbie: 03:50 Kyle, it’s not proper. Immature hour.
Kyle: 03:52 And they also did some savory things with that as well, with the dough as well as puff pastry. Yeah, the cheeses, they had like some pecorino in there.
Abbie: 04:00 Yeah, pecorino romano and a parmesan. They had fresh herbs.
Kyle: 04:03 Fresh herbs… that’s delicious! They did it as a alfanar and also like a breadstick. So we went there and learned sort of how to do that. We didn’t get too hands-on with it. We were just kind of sitting back and watching, to be honest. It’s a lot of work but we’re looking forward to giving it a try. Basically, you make the dough. Of course, I’m absolute simplifying this because this is a multi-hour process with little rest, rolling it out and all this good stuff. Basically, you take the dough and you wrap that dough around some butter, and then you roll it and fold it, and roll it and fold it, until you have like forty-seven layers I think, they said?
Abbie: 04:37 Well, that’s inaccurate. You’ve explained that horribly.
Kyle: 04:38 No? Really? Really Really. All right. Well, you go. Ok. You take a shot.
Abbie: 04:48 I don’t think it’s easy to give them a baking class. And laminated dough is not used. It’s a puff pastry. It’s different.
Kyle: 04:55 Puff pastry is a little bit different because it does not have…
Abbie: 04:58 Fat in it.
Kyle: 04:59 Yes it does not have the butter.
Abbie: 05:01 No it does have the butter in it.
Kyle: 05:02 Oh, it doesn’t have the yeast in it. And they swear up and down much like every other chef and restaurateur that it’s not worth making your own puff pastry. Just go and buy that at store.
Abbie: 05:12 However, if you want a very good croissant, it is worth your time and you’re going to take a lot of time making it. And they’re going to have to do it a lot of times because the only way you get better at it is by repetition. So, you have to really want to learn how to make a croissant if you really want a tasty one. And let me tell you, tasting a good croissant will change the way you hear them, in general.
Kyle: 05:35 And it’s worlds, worlds, worlds different from like Publix or anything you get locally. These things are amazing.
Abbie: 05:41 And even for a lot of places, a lot places, even local bakeries, they won’t always do them correctly. Just because it’s made here, doesn’t mean it’s made right. That just depend on the chef and their training and how skilled they are.
Kyle: 05:52 And it’s because it’s a long process to get it right. And on the plus side once you do get it down you can make a ton of them and they freeze up really nice. And then he just pull them out, proof them, and then throw them in the oven as needed and bake.
Besides the laminated dough, they also offer doughnuts, cake decorating, eclairs, macaroons, gelato, a cake class they were talking about. They also have a confections class and parts, part of the class that we went to, they actually present it with a lot of the chocolates and things they make there. And they had the gummy. You know, you said gummy and you’re like yeah. But it was, it was marvelous. It was marvelous.
So yeah, definitely worth checking out. You can buy some sweets for your sweetheart up at William Dean Chocolates. And William Dean was there. He gives a little chat during class. In the shop, Tim Brown was the one who walked us through the entire process. The class was multi-hour. It was like four and a half hours. Very in-depth.
Abbie: 06:50 Very in-depth. And you know when you walk in there, there’s a little storefront. There’ll be like the beautiful glass display of chocolates. I mean it’s really something just to look at. And then there are gelatos. When you walk form the counter to the back And when you walk in, it’s the full kitchen that you’re standing in and he had one of the demonstrations around one part of the kitchen, and he had about 14 to 15 chairs set up, and you go in and you sit down and that’s how it ends. That’s kind of cool because you’re actually there in the kitchen where they do all these, and it’s pretty awesome.
Kyle: 07:19 You’re in the midst of it.
Abbie: 07:20 Yeah. It’s a really beautiful atmosphere.
Kyle: 07:22 So that’s why being there up the corner of Indian Rocks and West Bay up in Bellaire Bluffs. So a great stuff for your sweetheart or maybe if you’re on the way back from the beach or something like that.
Abbie: 07:32 Or just for yourself. You don’t have to have a sweetheart to buy that.
Kyle: 07:35 Be selfish!
Abbie: 07:37 So I just want to mention how I found out about the event, and the cooking class was from a Facebook event. And he had samples to choose from as Kyle had mentioned earlier.
So if you’re interested just classes, log on to Facebook, and look at the Events, and look for William Dean. He should have some upcoming classes. Also he has been on Yvette Break, So, register through the link.
Kyle: 08:01 And honestly for the amount of time, that the class was very affordable.
Speaker 2: 08:05 It was very affordable was very affordable there. I mean at the time and what we walked away with, we walked away with not only with knowledge and recipes in hand, but also two big beautiful boxes for all of the lemonade dims he made that day that they were absolutely delicious.
Kyle: 08:20 Yes. We had a box like six pastries each and some attempt to make something as good as they made. Before that we had you know the chocolates and stuff that they had put out, and then like four and a half hours of instruction.
Abbie: 08:33 It was amazing!
Kyle: 08:34 Ridiculous value so check that one.
Speaker 2: 08:36 Action.
Kyle: 08:38 Segment 2: Bill Jackson. So segment 2, here I thought we would cover of one of my favorite stores and Abby’s as well. Yeah love this place.
Abbie: 08:49 Yeah, spent a lot of money there.
Kyle: 08:50 So it’s Bill Jackson’s. And basically they are a outdoor store. I guess we call it. So anything outdoors in the area. I mean…
Abbie: 08:59 They will outfit you for…
Kyle: 09:00 They will they will fit you for whatever you need. So they have camping, backpacking, and not just like the basic, like Coleman stuff, like they have the ultralight stuff with all the fancy backpacks you need. Any gear that you need for that, tracking colds, boots, shoes, food.
We got like a cast iron, pan from there I think Arthur or Gretel or something.
Speaker 2 : 09:22 We’ve got many things from there .
Kyle: 09:24 Maps. They also do scuba, they sell kayaks, stand up paddleboards, fishing flies. They also have sawed guns and there’s a gun range there. Interestingly enough, one of the few places in Florida to actually sell ski equipment. And they actually have a Visa commercial back in 1987 featuring their indoor ski slope.
Abbie: 09:44 Pretty cool!
Kyle: 09:45 So, yes. A little history, they opened up in 1946. They started off, came back from the war, got married. He was stationed at Dell and he went to the auction there and he bought 500 pounds of rat poison and a ton of bleach. And that was the start of the Bill Jackson’s empire.
Abbie: 10:02 How much bleach is a ton of bleach?
Kyle: 10:03 Actually, that math on this comes up to about 264 gallons.
Abbie: 10:07 That’s insane!
Speaker 1: 10:08 That’s definitely one of those things where you start a business, and it ends up somewhere else.
Abbie: 10:13 Yeah, I have so many question. Where did he start it? How did he divide it up? And just, that’s just crazy to me. I would never think about buying a ton of bleach. Or have that much rat poison for that matter.
Speaker 1: 10:25 That’s, you know, it may be they just have a big rat problem.
Abbie: 10:29 Maybe. But that’s how you really turn into something amazing because that’s really one of my favorite stories.
Kyle: 10:34 When they originally opened up in 1946, they were based around Forest Street for a while, and then in the mid 70s, they bought five acres of on US 19 and built the dream store. So they used greenstone from Wyoming or from California and cypress from Florida. It’s like you’re pulling into a campsite. And one of the stipulations whenever they were building it was the pine trees and the palmettos had to stay.
Speaker 2: 10:59 Yeah. That’s just awesome!
Speaker 1: 11:00 So it’s like you’re right on 19, next to all the car stores, and all that stuff. But it’s like as soon as you pull in there, you feel like you’re in a…
Speaker2: 11:08 Campsite in Georgia.
Kyle: 11:10 Yeah. It’s also. One of their other points pride is they only hire knowledgeable staff and they make sure that everyone in each department has a passion for the sport, and also a big depth of knowledge.
Abbie: 11:20 And every time we’ve gone there, they’ve been so incredibly helpful and they answered all of our questions.
Kyle: 11:25 Yeah I know, they’ve been telling you like places that go like, you know, when you’re looking for a place go hiking locally or, you know, where the scuba places. They have a full-on cool for scuba training. Testing out kayaks along all sorts of stuff. It’s something to see. It’s awesome. It’s a great place. Whenever I live the brand I used to love, I would just make the drive just to go there, or just walk around.
Abbie: 11:47 It’s so cool, especially ‘cause Kyle and I, we camp a lot, and I never realized how many things you can actually buy for camping. Just maybe when a lot of things that I’m sure you would never actually use, and just end up storing for most of the year, but it’s pretty fantastic to see.
Kyle: 12:02 Bill Jackson’s basically the Neiman Marcus of camping.
Abbie: 12:05 Yes. I would agree with that statement.
Kyle: 12:09 So, yes. So, if you have any inkling to get anything outdoors please head on to Bill Jackson’s there at 9501 U.S. Highway 19. And they are awesome. And if you want to see the VISA commercial from 1987 featuring Bill Jackson’s, we’re going to have that up on the show notes there at GreatThingsTB.com, find Episode 10. And we’ll have it there.
12:32 Segment 3. Let’s get personal.
12:37 This is my wife’s favorite segment. We’re 10 episodes in here. It’s pretty exciting. I feel like we’ve had a little bit of a milestone through the fireworks and champagne. Unfortunately, we can’t afford special effects yet. Someday. Someday. And honestly, I just want a state the goal next twelve months from this, I think. We did miss the Best of the Bay Voting for 2017, and there is a category for best podcasts. So, mark my words we are going to be in that category next year. We will win it. Yeah. So it’s really my goal. You know you all hold me accountable to that. And my lovely wife as well. We’ve had a little bit of another milestone. We have 500 people in the discussion group. It’s exciting accents. So, come on over and join us. We’re getting, you know. Yes. Good post there. So you know I’d love to see what you’re eating, what you’re doing, where you’re going.
13:31 Segment four that’ll kill you.
13:36 Thomas Midgley Jr. invented chlorofluorocarbons, also known as CFCs and Freon. And he also invented leaded gasoline. Whenever he was going around promoting gasoline, he would actually huff gasoline for a minute straight just to prove that it was safe. He is responsible for a lot of problems and misery. Honestly, he was trying to help everybody with the CFCs and freon. You know, he is honestly responsible for refrigeration and propellents of aerosols, you know, all the hair sprays and stuff like that. And leaded gasoline was used widely to prevent knocking, you know, basically every car use it. Unfortunately that put a ton of lead in the air. And, you know, we’re still kind of dealing with that a little bit, you know, medically because it never actually leaves your body and it doesn’t break down so it just kind of collects. So anyway, this Mr. Gas Huffer, also contracted polio at the age of 55, which led him much like his invention of CFC use and leaded gasoline to get creative. And he created a system of strings and colleagues to help him in and out of bed. But unfortunately, this contraption also eventually strangled him to death.
Speaker 2: 14:46 Oh, my God!
Speaker 1: 14:49 Anyway, thank you Mr. Thomas Midgley. Definitely moved us along and then you moved off this mortal coil in the most amusing way.
Abbie: 14:58 That’s dark.
Kyle: 14:59 I know.
15:02 Out show.
Kyle: 15:07 So, I’d like to thank you for sharing Great Things Tampa Bay with your friends family. With your support, that we’re having a success we’ve had with our discussion group, and also with lessons we’ve been gathered.
15:18 And if you’re looking for your own great place in Tampa Bay, or maybe you just want to talk about real estate, you can give me a call 727-300-2111, or your welcome to send me an email at email@example.com. That’s K-Y-L-E-@-S-A-S-S-E-R-G-R-O-U-P-dot-com and I’d be happy to help you find your own great place in Tampa Bay. If you want to tell us how horrible or how awesome the show is, please go to our website greatthingstb.com, click on the Get Social link at the top, and join our discussion group there, and interact to all that. But you could also call and leave us a voicemail. Give us some suggestions or some reviews, maybe you want to vent, and talk about restaurant experience, just give us a call 727-440-4455. I promise I won’t pick up and answer that. That’s strictly voicemail. Thank you so much for listening and be sure to subscribe to us on iTunes or Google Play, and we’ll talk to you next time.