Recently, Chocology had the opportunity to sit down with Stephanie Sorkin, a children's book author, to talk about her book "Chocolate Shoes with Licorice Laces". Don't you just love the name?
We love the book so much, that we will be hosting a reading of the book at the kindergarten class that Madeline attended many years ago. Along with the book reading, we will be offering all types of chocolate fun and activities to the children there.
One of the things we love most about Stephanie is that she's all about giving back to the community. Read on to find out more about how you can help others with the purchase of "Chocolate Shoes with Licorice Laces".
What inspired you to write "Chocolate Shoes with Licorice Laces"?
I was inspired to write “Chocolate Shoes” by my love of whimsical children’s literature. I love to think of silly things that could happen, and turn them into stories for children to enjoy. And what could be more fun than wearing chocolate shoes?
Where do you come up with your ideas?
I come up with my ideas 24 hours a day, in various ways. For example, when I came up with the idea for my book, “Nutley, the Nut-free Squirrel” it started as a bedtime story for my daughter. My kids loved it and I just knew that it would be a hit with children everywhere! I came up with the idea for “Frenemy Jane, the Sometimes Friend” based on a true story and real events. I have a number of other storylines that I’m currently working on with ideas that I got from observations in the classroom, along with silly add- ons to make the stories funny.
How did you get started as a writer?
I’d like to say that I got started as a writer the minute that I learned to write. I loved to put my thoughts on paper and rhyme at a very early age. I take great pleasure in bringing a book that I made as a child to my present day school visits. It’s a story about a frog that felt different from the other frogs. It’s held together by ribbon and my mom drew the pictures! I love that it inspires the kids to follow their dreams when they see that I started as a child. My start professionally came with my book “Nutley”. I was so anxious to share my story with the world that I sat at the computer and simply googled “SELF PUBLISHING”. I researched a few companies and ultimately got incredibly lucky when I chose the publisher Mascot Books. They delivered a high quality book that has held its own in a very competitive market.
Tell us 3 crazy things about yourself!
Hmmmm.....only 3 things?
1) I worked for the NBA. I love basketball as much as I love to write. Aside from being a children’s book author, it was my dream job.
2) I’m very superstitious
3) I want to keep every greeting card that I ever receive.
I LOVE quotes! I post one almost every day on my Twitter account (@stephsorkin)
I have so many favorites, it’s hard to narrow it down!!!
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. “ ~Maya Angelou
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. Time will pass anyway.” ~Earl Nightingale
“The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” ~Vince Lombardi
“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ~Anne Frank
“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” ~Thomas Jefferson
Best and Worst part of being a writer
The best part of being it writer is having a place to channel my creativity. To take my ideas and share them for others is very gratifying. To think that children get to read my books over and over just for fun is incredible. My favorite part of my job is visiting schools to discuss the writing process and the importance of creativity.
The worst part of being a writer is that many of my friends and family don’t think that I work! As my job is not your typical 9-5 office job, it’s difficult to explain my day to day schedule, as it varies. I do wish that I only worked 8 hours a day! Working from home is not easy, as there are multiple distractions. I have to stay very focused to get everything done!
My Madeline is in the middle of writing her first novel. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
My advice to your daughter is in a quote from Diane Sawyer. “Whatever you want in life, other people are going to want it too. Believe in yourself enough to accept the idea that you have an equal right to it.” I couldn’t have said it better myself and find this to be so motivational for young people looking to enter any competitive field, especially writing. I remember standing in the children’s book section of Barnes and Noble, completely overwhelmed. It was just weeks before my book Nutley was being published. I wondered how I would sell any books with all of the competition out there. The truth is, if you have a great product, believe in yourself and work hard, you will have no choice but to be successful.
I’d also tell your daughter that writing the book is the easy part. She can pursue mainstream publishing but we now live in an age where self-publishing and self- promotion are no longer frowned upon. She should know that there are many unconventional, yet effective ways to do both.
You donate a portion of the proceeds made from the book. How and why did you choose this organization?
I love to give back to charities that support children so choosing “Soles4Souls” was easy. With my book being about Chocolate Shoes, choosing a charity in which shoes are distributed to those in need seemed like the perfect match. I’m honored to be a part of their mission.
Do you like chocolate?
I absolutely LOVE Chocolate!! I would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I could! I love to go to chocolate stores and buy gourmet chocolate in all shapes and sizes, but you could also find me in CVS buying Hershey kisses!
Where can we buy your books?
My books are sold in bookstores, toy stores and children’s boutiques but the quickest way to find them is online on Amazon.com or ChocologyUnlimited.com
Lots of discussion and conversation swirls around our booth at the Farmer’s Market each weekend. The most popular topics however seem to veer towards three main themes. White Chocolate, Chocolate Pairings and The Art of Tasting Chocolate. Since a lot of our readers live too far to make it out to our Farmer’s Market weekends, we thought we’d bring the conversation to you! For the next couple of weeks we’ll be writing Farmer’s Market Chitchat. So what do we talk about around the Chocology stand each week? Well, read on to join our Farmer’s Market chitchat!
Every weekend Chocology offers a tasting of our mouthwatering Fat Ass Fudge to the public at our Farmer’s Markets. Inevitably each week, when we offer our White Chocolate we get at least one, “Eww. . .I don’t like white chocolate!”
With some coaxing and cajoling however, many times we can convince them that Chocology Couverture pure white chocolate isn’t your ordinary white chocolate. Often times, after our customers taste our white chocolate they’re in line the next week with white chocolate at the top of their shopping list.
All white chocolate contains at least twenty percent cocoa butter—our contains 28% cocoa butter. Other ingredients might include sugar, milk and vanilla. Since white chocolate does not contain chocolate paste or cocoa liquor, it isn’t considered a chocolate product. White chocolate can vary greatly depending on the chocolate (Compound vs. Couverture) and ingredients used and the methods with which they are prepared.
Our white chocolate contains all natural ingredients. Since we use more cocoa butter and less sugar, our white chocolate isn’t as sweet as your typical run of the mill white chocolate, making it smooth and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness. Our mixing and tempering practices enhance the flavor and texture of our white chocolate making even the most finicky chocolate connoisseur fall in love at first bite.
“Wow! This tastes super amazing, it’s so creamy and not too sweet.”
“I’ve never been a fan of white chocolate, but I”m starting to think differently, thank you for the tasting!”
“This is VERY good and it tastes incredible. Hands down the best white chocolate I’ve ever had.”
Our Farmer’s Markets are great fun and so informal. Conversations abound as people gather around to taste, pair and join in the chocolate extravaganza! Do you like white chocolate? Have you tried Chocology White Fudge? We invite you to join the conversation via the comments section, Facebook or Twitter. You don’t have to be at our Farmer’s Markets to be in on the fun Farmer’s Market chitchat!
With three farmers markets plus a four-day weekend music festival, Chocology wielded chocolate like the pros! What fun we had making connections with people and introducing the art of tasting chocolate.
Our weekend actually started the week before in our commercial kitchen, producing three hundred pounds of our Fat Ass Fudge. Madeline and Grandma worked tirelessly around the clock assembling boxes for the fudge, while Linda performed her magic with sweets. By Wednesday, twelve hundred boxes of fudge were ready to go along with boxes of our decadent truffles.
With six workers in tow, our weekend started Thursday at the Whole Foods Lake Grove Farmers Market where we reunited with old customers and met some new ones. David took off from his corporate job to assist his family in the business of chocolate for the long weekend.
Immediately following the Farmer’s Market, we headed out to our tent for the opening of the Great South Bay Music Festival. We were surrounded by three stages while people young and old flocked out to hear emerging artists and their favorite bands. This was Madeline’s first outdoor concert and while setting up she got to hear Colbie Caillat and Rachael Platten soundcheck before their concerts—tough job but someone’s got to do it!
Our Fat Ass Fudge signs made people smile (and even laugh out loud) and our “Don’t Chew, Don’t Swallow” banners peeked their interest. Lines of people crowded around for our Art of Tasting presentations. Pairing our chocolates with wine, many of the Blue Point Brewery’s award winning creations and even CIGARS made our offerings interesting and unique, and helped us to sell out of all of our wares throughout the weekend!
Meanwhile on Friday, David tended to our customers at the East Setauket Farmers Market before closing up and joining Linda and team at the festival. Saturday, Linda, David and team worked the festival together. On Sunday, David served the customers at our Port Jefferson Farmers Market and then joined Linda for the close of the festival.
To sweeten the pot even further, we were honored to raise money for charities in our Chocology Cares campaign. We look forward to continuing to give back to these organizations with each fudge sale we complete.
We learned so much about running an event of this magnitude and plan to implement what we’ve learned at future events. For instance, instead of giving all of the fudge choices at once, we learned to have people choose dark, white or cappuccino. Then we would offer the varieties in those categories, making it easier for our lines to move fluidly and providing an overall easier experience for our customers. It’s all about education and while we are educating the public we are also educating ourselves
It was an exhilarating weekend for us all. Starting our days at 5 a.m. throughout the weekend was a challenge and manning our various events felt like a whirlwind, but in the end we felt that we had fulfilled our mission ~ to educate and share our love of chocolate with the world. What fun it was to be in an atmosphere of celebration for four straight days. By Sunday evening we were all tired but so proud to have been a part of sharing a weekend with so many beautiful people, wonderful music and of course chocolate.
We had so much fun this past Saturday, July 11th 2015 at the Gardens & Landscapes of Port Jefferson event. This community experience was put on by the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce and the Suwasset Garden Club, sponsored by the Times Beacon Record Newspaper in celebration of summer and their 40th Anniversary.
There were 9 gardens featured and Chocology was stationed loud and proud at the outstanding Gateway to Garden Splendors, home of Maria Palmer of Jolie Powell Realty. Visitors climbed the meandering stairs and were greeted with wine, chocolates, and spectacular views. Maria had a number of beautiful gardens on display at the event. The perennial borders were charming and the feeling so peaceful, it is hard to capture it accurately in words or pictures.
In addition to the beautiful gardens, we were lucky enough to pair our decadent Chocology artisan chocolates with two lovely wines ( New Harbor Sauvignon blanc and Arboreto Montepulciano) provided by Waverly Liqours of Setauket. Will Joseph, the store manager, was impressively knowledgeable about wine and everybody learned something new! The ability to allow the different notes of the wine to affect your tastebuds with a subtle flowery but sometimes slightly bitter taste and then follow up with some sweet Chocology chocolate was absolute heaven. Our 88% dark chocolate ganache was the favorite.
This was such a lovely and unique experience for us to participate in. It allowed our chocolates to be exposed to a marvelous tasting sort of crowd. We look forward to doing this again next year.
If that is something that sounds of interest, you are in luck. We do in fact do pairings, so call us up and let us know what you’re looking for and we’re more than happy to advise on which of our artisan chocolates or Fat Ass Fudge’s would taste delicious with your favorite wines, beers or foods.
As always, be sure to check us out locally at the different Farmer’s Markets in the area. We’ve added two new events to our list this week. This Thursday July 16th we’ll be at the Lake Grove Whole Food’s Farmer’s Market from 11am-2pm; this Friday July 17th we’ll be at the Setauket Farmer’s Market from 4pm-7pm; and this Sunday July 19th we’ll be at the Port Jefferson Farmer’s Market from 9am-2pm. Or come visit us Thursday - Sunday evenings at the Great South Bay Music Festival! We look forward to seeing you somewhere this weekend.
In honor of America, this week we are sharing a special blog edition: This weekend we celebrate one of the most important days in our country’s history: the signing of the Declaration of Independence which established our separation from England. First of all, we here at Chocology would like to wish everyone a happy and safe fourth of July! We would also like to share with you some fun stories about the role of chocolate during our country’s struggle for freedom.
It all started back in 1765 when an Irish immigrant named John Hannan came to the colonies from Ireland and brought some cocoa beans with him. This started a chocolate craze throughout the colonies where back then they would grind the beans and mix them with hot water to create a very very bitter hot chocolate of sorts.
After the British raised taxes on tea with the Townshed Act of 1767, colonists got angry and united to dump all of the imported tea into the Boston Harbor (this event later to be known as the Boston Tea Party of 1773). Because of the, now, sudden lack of tea to drink, colonists turned to this chocolate drink for caffeination and comfort.
Even some of our founding fathers enjoyed the wonders of chocolate. George and Martha Washington, for example, had a cup of chocolate and water every morning with breakfast. While they were sipping their chocolate, Benjamin Franklin decided to capitalize a little from this growing craze. He decided to sell chocolate in several forms in his own printing shop, raising popularity of the sugary goodness even more.
During the revolutionary war, General Washington made sure that each soldier received at least a small bit of chocolate in their rations as it raised moral and warmed their spirits. The difficulty of this, however, was that chocolate was imported which meant they needed to sneak these ships past the British navy. This proved to be a difficult feat, but as we know now, Americans will do most anything for a scrumptious piece of chocolate.
In the midst of this war for freedom the first American chocolate factory was built by John Hannan’s business partner Dr. James Baker after Hannan was lost at sea. Baker built the first chocolate company of Baker’s Chocolate into a big success. His first product was a chocolate cake of sorts thus introducing the American public to a sweetened version of the chocolatey goodness.
So, on this weekend of celebration remember the role that chocolate played in getting us all here in our great and free country. To celebrate, stop by the East Setauket Farmer’s Market this Friday July 3rd from 4pm-7pm or the Port Jefferson’s Farmer’s Market this Sunday July 5th from 9am-2pm to celebrate what makes America great: family, friends, and chocolatey fudge!
After a month of cross-country travel, Madeline and I arrived home Friday May 15, having driven a total of 8,001 miles since our departure on April 17th. We had so much fun driving through so many states and witnessing the beauty of this amazing country of ours. Reconnecting with friends and family and making new friends along the way was such a joy! Although we discovered that we feel at “home” wherever we are, it was nice to pull into Port Jefferson and relinquish the car keys for a while. It's really is nice to be home.
Just because we’re home doesn’t mean our busy schedule ends though. We’re moving onward and forward on our chocolate mission and of course we want you to come along with us!
With treats in hand, Chocology made it’s debut at the Port Jefferson Farmer’s Market on Sunday offering our Fat-Ass fudge to market goers. We shared time and space with lots of local Long Island vendors and met so many wonderful people, families and even pets!
In addition, today we’re into our test kitchen and off to our Commercial Kitchen on Thursday trying out a variety of new fudge flavors. We got so many suggestions on the road and couldn’t wait to get back and test them out. We’ve discovered that taste varies, depending on what part of the country you live in. Here’s a smattering of possibilities:
And finally, we will be adding another fundraiser to our Chocology Gives Back lineup.
How is this organization changing the world?
Families exploring the fun and interactive hands-on exhibits at the Maritime Explorium at Port Jeff Harbor will enjoy the excitement of scientific discovery, develop a broadened cultural awareness and experience a sense of artistry while learning about Long Island’s rich and varied maritime heritage.
From now until December 20th every Fat Ass Fudge order that you place using the code EXPLORIUM, Chocology will donate $1.00 ($2 for every order of $50 or more) to help this organization empower and enrich the lives of our youth.
We’re excited to be home safely and ready to jump right in to more chocolate adventures! Won’t you help us spread the chocolate love? Share this post on Facebook and Twitter with friends and family so that they too can be a part of the Chocology family!
Cheer's to being Home Sweet Home. . .
~The Chocology Team