October is a special month to me – my birth month. At this time of year, I always feel the pull towards self-reflection and reevaluation of my goals and purpose. It is a time in which I recommit and align my actions with my innermost desires and vision. This year I am grateful for the path I have taken with Chocology. It brings joy, connection and fun into my life. This is why I’d like to share with all of you why I do what I do.
No. 1: I love seeing people smile
Everyone LOVES chocolate! It is such a blessing to have the opportunity to work with people who are happy and enjoying themselves. I love helping our clients choose the perfect gift, dessert for a special event or wedding favors. People are happy when they talk chocolate and this makes me happy as well. Madeline always says, “We meet the best people!” and she’s right. We are fortunate to cross paths with people in their finest moments.
No. 2: I’m good at it!
Being the Managing Director of my own company allows me to utilize all of my gifts and talents. Strong work ethic, good communication skills and a love of people are key ingredient's to running a successful business. Do what you love and you never work a day of your life! That is our philosophy and it’s worked well for us at Chocology. I love what I do every single day and am able to thrive because of this philosophy!
No. 3: I get to do it with my family!
One of the greatest gifts I feel I can give to my daughter is to show her that when you set a goal it can be achieved through hard work, a good attitude and perseverance. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to model for my daughter that your dreams can come true! Not everyone has the privilege of working with family. Recently David is able to join us more and more on our chocolate adventures! We never know what is around the corner, but together we get the job done – ALWAYS!
No. 4: Every Day is Different
I love different! It’s so easy to get stuck in the humdrum of day-to-day life. At Chocology, each day is diversified. One day we’re working with children on a Chocology Kids project and the next we’re working with the senior’s community. We might go to a corporate meeting to serve fudge and then head out to plan a wedding or work on one of the various festivals that we attend. There’s always something new and fresh to keep us motivated and excited.
No. 5: Giving Back to our World
From the very beginning it was important to me to give back. I feel so blessed to live a happy and joyful life. Giving a little of that back makes me even happier. I don’t work for a non-profit however I sure can support them. And that’s what we do, plain and simple. Not only to we glean joy from helping our non-profits with monetary donations, we love doing simple acts of kindness. I just love it when parents allow their children to come by our Farmers Market booth to make purchases by themselves. The parents have realized that we take those children under our wings and feel blessed to have them as customers too. Kids are the best at “the art of tasting” and we love seeing them take it so seriously. We love giving our money, our smiles and our compassion to everyone that we meet!
No. 6: I Get to Travel
If you’ve read our blog, you know I love to travel. I love going new places and being the owner of Chocology provides that travel outlet for me. Whether it’s driving to the East End, traveling on the ferry across the Long Island Sound to make deliveries in Connecticut or going cross-country to deliver a check to one of our non-profits, the opportunity to travel keeps life interesting and new every single day.
No 7: It provides Freedom and Autonomy
Most people think that when you own your own business, you get to set your own hours. This is not exactly true. I make myself available to my clients therefore my hours are dictated by the need. However, I do have the flexibility to use creativity to get a job done well and efficiently. People often ask, “How do you manage balance in your life?” My answer: “I don’t. I integrate.” Being with my daughter Madeline and my husband David is very important to me. We’ve learned to integrate our time together as a family while enjoying running the business. And I not only get to be with my daughter while homeschooling, I get to teach her about having a career that you love and doing it with a joyful heart.
No. 8: I can do it all!
Admittedly, I will welcome the day when our growth allows for more employees and my position will be more of a leadership role. For now, I get the opportunity to run the business both from the front and back end. Creativity, New Products, Website, Social Media, New Client visits, special events – these are the things I love. Bookkeeping – Not so much! Luckily, I love developing both sides of my brain; Analytical and Creative. There are so many facets of my personality and they serve me well in running the business. I need to switch hats quickly from planning and creative thinking to one of analytical and business-minded thinking. One day soon there will be others that can help, but for now I love the constant shifting and maneuvering that my business demands of me.
Overall, the message is that I am so grateful for my life as the owner and Managing Director of Chocology. I feel blessed to come across so many wonderful people out in the world. I love making people happy! The smiles I get to see are the icing on the cake! I love my life and thank all of those that have helped me live out my dream of running a family business.
Entrepreneur. Don’t you just love the word? It invokes a sense of paving one’s own way, innovative new ideas and walking into uncertainty with gusto.
Chocology had the privilege of speaking at the Sprout Pharmaceutical National Sales Conference last Tuesday evening in Washington, D.C. along with 8 other Shark Tank participants. Our focus was to share our experiences with the Sprout National Sales Team, in their "Sprout Tank", about our entrepreneurial practices and business styles.
Sprout Pharmaceuticals is an innovative pharmaceutical company committed to women’s health. “At Sprout, we celebrate ownership, boldness, quirkiness, learning, family and appreciation.” What a great organization to be a part of.
The Shark Tank themed evening began with the Sprout sales team entering the room accompanied by the theme song from Shark Tank. What an inspiring way to enter a sales conference!
After general introductions, Linda Johnson, managing director and owner of Chocology, had three ideas for the sales team.
- “There is no one “right way” to be an entrepreneur. It’s all about being yourself and bringing your authentic ideas to your product or service.”
- “Being Customer Focused is the cornerstone of any business …the sale begins and ends with relationships, both internal within your company and external with your customers.”
- “Always be looking for solutions, I begin each morning with this question: ‘How many problems can I solve today?’ ”
The evening ended with a talk from Daymond John, entrepreneur, investor, author and star of ABC’s Shark Tank. His hour and a half talk encompassed a time line of his life including humble beginnings, his love of hip hop, his founding of FUBU clothing company (For Us, By Us) and his creation and time on Shark Tank.
John used key words to define the traits needed for entrepreneurship: hustler, mining for opportunities, a willingness to fail and not minding the “you’re crazy” comments.
There were five Shark Tools that he stressed throughout his talk that helped him to be successful and that he wants to impart to new entrepreneurs.
- Do your Homework.
Adore what you do.
Remember that you’re the brand.
He ended with a quote from his mother that has seen him through all of his adventures. “It takes the same amount of energy to think small as it does to think big.”
His talk was empowering and inspirational not only to the sales team, but to the Shark Tank participants as well.
Other Shark Tank participants included:
Daymond was very inspirational and being with other Shark Tank participants is always exciting. We at Chocology were honored to be present at this event. Daymond John and all of the Shark Tank participants left us feeling uplifted and ready for the many adventures ahead.
Don’t Chew…Don’t Swallow! It’s the perfect motto when tasting chocolate, especially new flavors.
At our Farmer’s Markets we love educating our customers on the art of tasting and really experiencing the foods we eat ~ especially chocolate! Eating our foods mindfully and consciously enables us to ignite our taste buds and engage all of our senses. Through your senses of smell, taste, hearing, touch and sight, you will experience food (and chocolate) at it’s fullest potential. The art of tasting is a much different (and rewarding) experience than simply popping something into your mouth quickly and moving on to the next thing. We generally don’t “taste” our foods, so learning to eat mindfully develops our sense of taste and allows us to slow down and enjoy life more.
Did you know that the human tongue has over ten thousand taste buds and that they are replaced every two weeks? And further, children have a higher sensitivity to tastes than adults do? Over a lifetime, our taste buds tend to slow down reproduction, making adults a little bit less sensitive to certain tastes like sweet or bitter. It’s why children delight in sweets and tend to shun the more bitter tastes like coffee and beer. Watch a child’s taste buds kick in after a bite of fudge and you’ll see their eyes light up and a big smile naturally spread across their face. All the more reason for adults to slow down and mindfully taste their chocolate!
There are over six hundred chemical compounds in cacao beans that produce the chocolate flavor. Now that’s something to slow down for! The type of tree, terroir, fermentation and ingredients all contribute to the taste and flavors that you will experience in the finished product. Since there are so many chocolates from so many different beans, it’s worth pausing when tasting to see if you can detect the complexity and flavors of each unique chocolate.
We always tell folks at our farmer’s market ~ don’t chew…don’t swallow. Place the chocolate at the tip of your tongue and allow it to melt into the roof of your mouth. The sweet taste buds on the tip of your tongue will be ignited. The olfactory receptors in your nose will take in the smell of the sweet and send a delightful message to your brain! The taste buds working with the olfactory receptors tell the brain that you are on the right track with this food. Give it a try and see if you can detect all of the flavors in the chocolate you are eating. Slow down and allow your taste buds to take you on a relaxing journey rather than a hurried jaunt.
One of the biggest things we’ve learned through all of the tastings we’ve offered is that everyone’s palate and tastes are different. Learn more about your own palate by tasting, appreciating and learning. Seduce your taste buds and let chocolate surprise and delight you. Revel in the experience and you can’t go wrong. You’ll probably even learn more about your palate, taste buds and senses than you ever knew before.
One of our favorite things about building community around chocolate tasting is to find out what chocolate our customers love best. Do you have a favorite? Please share your preferences with us in the comments section, on Facebook or on Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!
Here’s to tasting chocolate ~ Mindfully. . .
~ The Chocology Team
Links about Taste Buds:
Links for you: https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/tasty.html
Link for the kids: http://kidshealth.org/kid/talk/qa/taste_buds.html
Last week’s blog post was all about our white chocolate tastings at the Farmer’s Market. We have so much fun with our Fat-Ass Fudge tastings and look forward to bringing new flavors to our customers to try each week.
Another hot topic around the booth these days is chocolate pairings. When we talk about pairing chocolate, many people automatically think of wine/chocolate pairings or cheese/chocolate pairings. But, what about pairing chocolate with whatever is on hand?
At our Farmer’s Market we like to get a bit adventurous and our customers love getting in on the fun. We’re not afraid to pair chocolate with just about anything! When our customers walk up with a pickle, meatballs, Starbuck or Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, even lemonade, our job is to pair them up with a chocolate that will compliment whatever is available at the moment. It’s a lot of fun and we’ve learned a lot about pairing chocolate with all kinds of food and drink.
For the customers who don’t have a pickle or a meatball in hand, we always keep a stash of Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar nearby from one of our favorite local vendors, The Amazing Olive. After spending a few hours pairing in their store, we just couldn’t keep our discovery to ourselves. The vinegars from The Amazing Olive compliment our fudge so well!
We’ve also begun to introduce cHarissa Spice, a wildly popular spicy condiment developed by a local Long Islander, in honor of his late wife. The spice paired with the sweet is amazing and our patrons absolutely love it.
Pairing these condiments with our fudge has been a very unexpected (and delicious) surprise, not only to the Chocology team but to our customers as well. Who knew spicy and vinegary would go well with chocolate?
One of our Market patrons exclaimed, ""Chocolate bliss, this is chocolate for adults," which became our tagline for the day. Another said, "I'm thinking holiday gifts!" And we agree. Some of these pairings will likely land on our holiday menu in the coming months!
For those of you who aren’t able to join us at our Farmer’s Market booth pairings, why not set up a chocolate pairing party of your own? Here are a few tips from an article we read on the SheKnows website.
White Chocolate pairs well with lemon, blueberries, strawberries, pink peppercorn and lots of other unique flavors. White chocolate paired with the right flavors can create some unique tasting experiences.
Milk Chocolate pairs well with pink Himalayan sea salt, caramel, coconut, bacon and walnuts. Try a milk chocolate that is creamy and not too sweet.
Try Dark Chocolate with lavender, ginger, goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. Dark chocolate is paired well with tangy or sweet flavors.
Whether you join us for pairings at the market or choose to do pairings of your own, always remember to be adventurous and give those ideas a try! Have fun with it. You never know what’s going to taste good together until you give it a go!
Have you paired chocolate with something unique? If so, we’d love to hear about it. Tell us all about it here in the comments section or on Facebook or Twitter.
Wishing you a week filled with fun foods and chocolate!
~ The Chocology Team
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!
White Chocolate and Tastings
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!
Next week we’ll be writing about: Chocolate Pairings. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever paired with chocolate? Join us next week and find out what we pair with at our Farmer’s Market.
We’re packing for our cross-country road trip coming up on April 17th. Can you guess what’s at the top of my suitcase list?
Books of course!
What’s a fun trip without books? I have four piled up and what do you suppose all four books have in common?
They’re all about chocolate, naturally . . .
My reading list:
On the Chocolate Trail, by Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz
Raising the Bar, by Pam Williams
The Science of Good Cooking, Guy Crosby, Ph.D
Your Brain on Food, Gary L. Wenk
Will you be traveling with us in our virtual backseat? If so, what books will you bring? Tell us all about it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We’re looking forward to having you with us on this cross-country adventure! Let’s get packing . . .
CHOCOLOGY UNLIMITED LAUNCHES THEIR LATEST PRODUCT “FAT ASS FUDGE”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Port Jefferson, NY November 2, 2014
Chocology Unlimited is honored to be introducing its newly acquired company, Fat Ass Fudge, originally founded by Donna McCue of East Hampton, NY.
“The velvety smooth fudge is home made in small batches
with organic ingredients,” states Linda Johnson, Managing Director and owner of Chocology Limited (UK) and Chocology Unlimited. “It harmonizes nicely with what we are already doing with Chocology and we think our customers will appreciate the decadence and integrity of the product.”
Keeping in line with Chocology’s philosophy of providing quality products along with education, Fat Ass Fudge is sure to compliment Chocology’s existing fine products.
Linda and her daughter Madeline
(Official Chocolate Taster) met Donna at a Whole Foods market several years ago. Donna befriended Madeline and they have kept in touch. Linda says, “We’ve never forgotten how kind Donna has been to Madeline through the years. When we saw her on “Shark Tank”,
I thought to myself, I’d like to partner with her someday
. Instead, when Donna decided to sell Fat Ass Fudge, Linda was first in line.
“For the past several months, we have worked closely with Donna in our test kitchen to be sure that the transition is smooth and that we understand her business and recipes well,” states Linda. “We love what she’s done with her company. Donna will officially pass the torch to Chocology on Sunday, November 2nd.”
Chocology will keep the name Fat Ass Fudge and use it as a description for their new product line. Four flavors of fudge will be offered in the beginning with additional flavors and products to come in the future.
“Donna McCue will stand in as an advisor to Chocology for as long as she is willing,” states Linda. “Her expertise and creativity is an integral part of making this transition seamless.”
Linda explains, “Donna has an interesting story, she is regarded as a staple in the East Hampton’s Farmers Markets and is celebrated for her contributions to the home made
gourmet fudge market, Her fudge is loved by many people across the country.”
You can read more about Donna McCue and Fat Ass Fudge at Fat-assfudge.com
. Linda plans to keep the Fat Ass website up indefinitely as a convenience for the established customers.
“We are excited about our new acquisition and look forward to carrying on the legacy that Donna McCue started” Linda concludes.