The Wall

Posted on August 18, 2014 by 66739222 | 0 Comments

runningHave you ever run a marathon? Sure you have! We all have. Remember that time you stayed up all night with your sick child? Or took 36 hours to give birth to a beautiful human being? What about that pesky project at work that seemed to go on forever? Or maybe you’ve run an actual 26.2 mile marathon like me. A marathon in running terms is defined as a long-distance running race, strictly one of 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 km). A marathon in life is defined as a long-lasting or difficult task or operation of a specified kind: the last leg of an interview marathon that began this summer. There’s a phrase in the runner’s world called “hitting the wall.” Hitting the wall in running terms means that you get to that point where you want to quit. It came for me at the 20-mile mark in my marathons. Although I had prepared and practiced for weeks leading up to my run, the 20-mile marker always got me. It was at the 20-mile mark that it became a mental practice to push through to the end. It wasn’t about the activity of running anymore; it was about talking myself into finishing something I had started. The hard part was already completed. I succeeded in all three races, but the “wall” created self-doubt, telling me to stop before I finished my goal. The overwhelming desire to quit was there, but there were only 6.2 more miles to go. I had run 6 miles per day for many months. I knew I had it in me. Starting a business is like running a marathon. There are so many moving parts and so much to do when planning a business. Just like in a running marathon, at first, energy is up and enthusiasm is high. For weeks here at Chocology, we have been planning, buying and situating everything from Agreements to UPS, so that we can deliver (pun intended) the best possible product to our customers. The launch of the actual business is upon us. But guess what? I hit the “wall” last week, my body and brain spent, and it felt impossible to go on. I was frantically rushing from one appointment to another. As I was locking the front door to go pick Madeline up from her summer camp, I felt the lump in the pit of my stomach. I hadn’t deposited checks at the bank. I hadn’t bought groceries or even thought about dinner. My mind began to spiral into how hard it all was. How was I going to ship chocolate to my uncle in the Mojave Dessert without it melting, or to my cousin across the country in San Diego? Chocolate and heat don’t mix, unless of course, the chocolate is already in your mouth! I thought about the mountain of boxes that are piled everywhere in our home; UPS boxes, supply boxes, sample boxes, chocolate boxes. I had just finished an 11 hour day of photo shoots the day before and then received an email saying that my chocolatier class was starting Friday and not in two weeks like I had thought. I had hit the wall – and big time! I truly wondered how in the world I would go on. But then it hit me! Wait a minute, Lin. You’ve been shipping boxes for years now; what’s the problem? It’s just a box. You can do this! Keep putting one foot in front of the other all the way to the finish line. I realized I had experienced this same conversation with myself three times before during my marathons. I realized that this was just the “wall”. If I could get past the wall in my running marathons, than surely I could push past the wall I was experiencing in this business marathon. I had to realize that the “wall” was temporary. I had to become present with what was in front of me, affirm my accomplishments to this point and keep going. Yes, everything seemed to need doing all at once. But I could do it, one foot in front of the other. The hard part has already been done. And then snap! The wall was behind me. I loved this quote about the “wall” from How Stuff Works: Experience can also lessen the shock of hitting the wall. If you've been through it in training or previous races, you're less likely to succumb to it. As humbling and physically challenging as it can be, it is only temporary. That intrinsic knowledge alone can be enough to get you to the finish line and emerge from the shadow of the wall. ~ Kevin P. Allen, How Stuff Works We are so close to the finish line. And at the finish line we get to celebrate with great customers, great chocolates and great chocolate adventures. I love people and look forward to the fun part of this business, working with people like you! Like the cheering teams on the sidelines at a marathon, we are grateful to have you cheering us on to the U.S. launch. Here’s where we are in our race to the launch of Chocology:
Miles One through Ten                           Miles 11 through 20
Agreements                                                  Boxes   √ 
Banking         √                                              Competitors  
Branding                                                      Classes   √ 
Business Plan                                               Labeling   
CPA                                                             Marketing √ 
FDA             √                                               Order Processing √ 
Finances                                                     Printers      √ 
IRS           √                                                 Packaging   √ 
Importing                                                  Phone Number  √ 
Insurance                                                 Photographer   √ 
Legal         √                                               UPS Shipping  √ 
Licensing                                                  Vendors        
Nutrition                                                    Permits       √ 
The last 6.2 Miles
Website    
UPS/Chocolate Testing  
Social Media  
Events  
LAUNCH
  I would love to ask you a favor – please share with us the times that you’ve broken through the “wall” in your marathon. Your stories inspire us and encourage us on our journey! Putting one foot in front of the other . . . Linda Johnson

Posted in business, business launch, chocolate, chocolate industry, chocolate marathon, Chocology, finish line, marathon, sweet run, Uncategorized

The Art of Tasting Chocolate

Posted on June 23, 2014 by 66739222 | 0 Comments

woman contemplating chocoWe at Chocology are committed to and love the study of chocolate – extending that love and knowledge to the world in a new and exciting way is our passion. Chocolate has acquired a reputation over time as a food that should be avoided rather than revered. Most of the candies you find at the checkout line have very little cocoa in them, sometimes as little as ten percent. Instead they are packed with white sugar and milk solids, making them a nice occasional treat with little nutritional value. And still, millions of us consume them in vast amounts on a daily basis. True cocoa, however has been held in high esteem since the days of the ancient Mayans. Used for spiritual and medicinal purposes, it was and still is recognized as one of the super foods of the world. The higher the cocoa content, the higher the health benefits. How do we come to appreciate higher cocoa contents and flip our paradigm from “chocolate is bad” to “chocolate is nutritious”? The art of chocolate encompasses all of our senses; it truly is a sensory experience. We start where we are and become present when we eat chocolate in any form. Mindfully tasting chocolate can be a rewarding experience when we slow down and appreciate it. When we are accustomed to popping it into our mouths heedlessly, we miss the adventure of skillfully tasting this super food. Chocolate tickles the senses and the cocoa in it provides nourishment for our bodies. We want to learn to like the good stuff, right? But going from a highly processed milk chocolate to an eighty-five percent dark chocolate bar is quiet a leap. That’s why we acknowledge where we are now and begin the process of recalibrating our taste buds, moment by moment. Let’s begin by engaging our senses and paying attention to what we are experiencing here and now. We’ll shift the emphasis to the tasting experience itself rather than reaching an anticipated end goal. Perhaps you can close your eyes, pay attention to your breath and then begin the process of tasting. Choose the highest quality chocolate possible. Even if it is one of the popular grocery store brands, it’s a start. Our first goal is to experience chocolate in the moment, with reverence and appreciation. As we expand our awareness, we can choose higher cocoa contents and different brands to experiment with. Rather than popping it into your mouth right away, why not take a moment to evaluate its packaging. Is it a box of truffles or a slick sleeved bar? Is there writing on the container? What does it say? In what region of the world did the cocoa grow? What is the percentage of cocoa in your candy? Unwrap your chocolate slowly. Listen to the rustle of the paper or the crinkling of the box as you open it. Can you anticipate what you will see? Now, ponder the color, texture and shape of your chocolate. Is it dark brown or light? Does it appear smooth or bumpy? Did the artisan design the shape or color in an unusual way? Have they added nuts or fruit? What does that look like? Next, bring the chocolate to your nose. While some of the flavor aromas are “trapped” inside of the cocoa butter until melted in your mouth, there will be others you can detect. Do you know what they are? Can you identify them? Then, break off a small piece. Listen. Does it snap or is it pliable? How does in feel in your fingers? Is it light? Heavy? Filled with ganache or cream? Finally, place the chocolate on your tongue and bite into it gently but don’t chew. Try to experience the taste and not judge it as good or bad. Allow the chocolate to slowly coat your tongue and the roof of your mouth. What flavors do you taste? Is it bitter? Can you taste sweetness? A hint of salt? What sensations do you have in your mouth after you’ve swallowed? Has the taste evolved even further? Do you want to try it again or would you prefer something else? Each time you taste, your ability to decipher new flavors and nuances grow and your appreciation of the quality expands with it. Tasting chocolate is an experience much different than just eating it. While we don’t want to over think it, mindfully considering the elegance of chocolate can leave us feeling satisfied. It satiates our desire for sweetness and provides our bodies with nourishment. Our incessant need for more diminishes and the appreciation of what is in front of us increases. When we contemplate art, we do it slowly and appreciatively. Quality chocolate is an art form worthy of our presence and full attention. The feeling of happiness and well-being grows when we acknowledge appreciation in our lives. Appreciating the chocolate in our lives is good for us and assists us in making the leap to finer and higher quality with each mindful taste.

Posted in chocolate industry, Chocology, Chocology Unlimited, cocoa, food, fun, informative, Uncategorized, vote favorite