Chocolove Blog

  • Website Under Construction

    Website. Construction zone.

    These two words or phrases seem out of place and disconnected, unless you work in customer service at Chocolove.

    I must say that we didn’t plan to build a website on the fly and have 20 things that needed fixing. We were forced to a new platform as our old license and software expired and was no longer supported with those all-important patches. Rest assured, we are in almost hourly dialogue with, and are gently bending, the website team to get it done and fix the bugs.

    If you have any need at all that is not being served by the website, call 1-888-246-2656, and we will do it the old fashioned way. Sort of like when the power goes out and you have to rely on candles and oil lamps--it can be kind of fun.

    We aim to "git 'er done" while we are all still having fun.

    Thanks for your understanding.

  • An Unexpected Gift at an Unexpected Time

    Finding Forrester is one of my favorite movies. Partly because I had a neighbor who was similar to Forrester, both in character and voice. My neighbor was a writer and at times, tried to teach me a thing or two about writing.

    The movie has a couple of scenes about giving and receiving. The phrase, "An unexpected gift at an unexpected time," is one that resonates with me. Over the years, I have had the joy of personally giving Chocolove to tens of thousands of people. I am not talking about the sale of Chocolove, but me actually handing another person a Chocolove bar. It really is a joy for me.

    While the holiday season may not be an unexpected time, perhaps Chocolove might be an unexpected gift to colleagues, co-workers, neighbors, your letter carrier, or any person who might find the gift unexpected.

    Happy gifting days.

  • Giving Thanks

    Thanks. Thank you. Those who know me and work with me know I say and write these words over 60 times a day. I give thanks every day I wake up and every evening as well. So it may come as no surprise that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.

    On the surface I like it because I get to cook, feed people, eat, and share time with my larger family.  Quietly though, amidst the hustle and bustle, I am resonating with a lot of gratitude, even days before.

    One of the ways I give thanks is to consider what other people want. And when I say other people, I am mindful (or at least in my view), that we are not separate, but all connected like a family.

    I thank with doing as well as with words. This year I made some choices for the larger Chocolove family feast: to hold the line on flavor, product integrity, and price.  We actually reduced our wholesale list price nationwide and you were deservingly at the heart of that decision. By working both harder and smarter, we found a way to do it—as our way of saying thank you.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Fall

    Today the rain is falling gently… that slow, persistent cold rain; and with it, the leaves are falling too.  These two signs reveal that fall is here and winter is on the way.  Days like these remind me of hot chocolate - but not just any hot chocolate: hot Chocolove.  Yes, there is a difference.  Hot Chocolove is richer, thicker, and more filling; like drinking a chocolate bar.  You could use any Chocolove bar, but chips give a heartier, baked-brownie-type flavor.

    I will confide in you that for most of the cooking I do, I don’t follow a recipe, and after you make it a few times, you can arrive at your own proportions. Chocolove chips, milk and water are all you need.  I like to make hot Chocolove for others, so typically I have four espresso size cups on the counter.  I fill one with chips, two with milk, and one with water (you can use a measuring cup according to serving size and number of servings).  I pour the water and milk in a small sauce pan and place over heat, add in the chips, and whisk while bringing up to a boil.  I like to stop whisking before the boil and hold onto the pan handle and watch, then lift the pan as the chocolate boils. Let cool to a still hot but safe temperature.   Pour out a taste and serve yourself.  Here is where you then can decide if you want more water or more milk in your own personal recipe.

    I sometimes make it a little thicker if I have French bread on hand, so I can dip the bread in for a classic European treat.  Happy fall.Hot Chocolove

  • Chocolove's Beginnings

    Twenty years ago, I set up a trade show booth at a show called Expo East. I had worked since February of 1994 on research and development. In those 18 months, I had learned to taste chocolate like a professional wine taster, tea taster, and coffee taster, because indeed I had been training in all three types of tasting. However, to fully understand the chocolate taste took several months of daily tasting.

    Then I set about determining if our customer base could taste and would actually prefer the taste I had chosen. I did not presume my taste would work for them. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that almost all of the 120-member panel could indeed pick out a premium chocolate from the 10 other samples, and actually preferred it over lesser chocolate alternatives. So we had a winner: Belgian chocolate.

    Of the 120 panelists, I invited eight "super consumers" (people who had eaten a lot of different types of chocolate and ate chocolate regularly) to weigh in on the name and packaging. Several package designs were shown and the one chosen was the love letter. The envelope from afar, bearing delights for the heart, was deemed most consistent with the Chocolove experience. And the matching name was Chocolove.

    So on day one of Expo East 1995, I set up my booth and served Chocolove to the world. The response was a very excited set of show attendees and I had to hustle to keep samples on the plates. Over the years, I was a regular server at trade shows, often serving more than 7,000 people a show.

    Twenty years later we are making the same great taste. Thanks for your trust and thanks for the memories.

  • Chocolove's Motivation

    As you might imagine, there is a fair amount of lost sleep when managing an endeavor like Chocolove. Instead of counting sheep, I prefer to herd ideas, thoughts, and worries into their pens and close the gates on them for the night. In doing so, I see and count each item. Sometimes one is a straggler and is so cute as to warrant letting it run around a bit.

    Why do I work so hard and with such intent to get it all right? This is a thought that comes at times. Over the years, the answer has always been that somewhere, someone, or more correctly several someones, are happier because I went to work; or more specifically we at Chocolove went to work. This was the realization some 18 years ago, and it is still our motivation today.

    So the recent news story of a consumer buying a Chocolove bar for a Pennsylvania man in need of a little compassion, resonates well with us. That Pennsylvania man now seeks out the good samaritan to thank her. And to the lady who expressed her compassion with a Chocolove bar, I too want to thank her, and all of us at Chocolove thank her as well. Intentional acts of compassion bolster our resolve to hold the line on taste and quality. We smile a little more as we work, knowing that with each Chocolove bar we make, someone, somewhere is having a better day.

  • Chocolove: Sustainable, Socially Responsible, and Ethical

    Last week, Chocolove had our third annual IMO For Life inspection. We received a score of 115 out of 100. It’s always nice to score higher than 100; however, we are expected by IMO to do better each year and we are already working toward this goal.

    One of the reasons that we choose the IMO For Life program is because they actually inspect our factory in Boulder, Colorado. This annual inspection keeps us truly focused on the mission. Out of incisive inspections and positive feedback, we can see ourselves clearer and are encouraged to do even better for all of our supply chain and customers.

    Another reason that we like IMO’s For Life program is its full traceability from our factory to the farmer; unlike other certification programs that rely on “mass balance” principles. Mass balance is a kind of carbon credit for sustainability, but we prefer the integrity of buying the beans directly from the farmers in the program.

    On almost all of the items that we sell, Chocolove’s IMO For Life certified content increased to the level of “all of the cocoa bean derived ingredients in this chocolate are certified For Life.” You will find this statement and higher content on some products now, and will see this revised claim on the rest of our items as packaging changes and product moves through distributors to stores.

    Thank you for your support of Chocolove as we make this positive transition.

  • Chocolove Price Reduction

    Chocolove is pleased to announce a price change effective July 1, 2015.

    The price reduction is a result of Chocolove securing lower cocoa costs for the next two years, in addition to the foreign exchange rate for dollars improving considerably.

    We achieved cost savings without reducing quality or piece weight, and increased certified sustainable and non-gmo content.  While our primary goal is to deliver the most satisfying chocolate possible, we also believe part of that satisfaction comes from a fair price.

    We are now working with retail stores to get the new lower prices implemented on the shelf.

  • Chocolove Donates To Help West Africa

    Chocolove has written a check for $50,000 to the World Cocoa Foundation who will in-turn donate it to the International Federation of Red Cross program in West Africa.

    The IFRC is one of the most active organizations at work in West Africa at this time in the fight against the ebola virus.

    Our hearts and prayers are with the people of West Africa and now our donations as well.

    In our efforts to find a way to help cocoa farmers we have had a long and generous relationship with the World Cocoa Foundation. It comes as no surprise that they take a lead on behalf of the cocoa community worldwide, collecting funds for the humanitarian effort of stopping the further spread of ebola virus and saving lives in West Africa.

  • Bite the ears off… Right?

    Bite the ears off… Right?, when faced with a chocolate bunny, after admiring its sheen and calculating that enough people have seen it and it is likely to not look so great or taste so great a week from now, ya bite the ears off.  We are making chocolate bunnies in the factory today just for fun and for employees.  I had to taste, as is my main job; the keeper of the taste.  I must admit to a certain child-like demeanor that overcomes me; a giggly-like feeling as I approach the bunny.  And when those ears snap and that chocolate is in my mouth I am taken back to my childhood.

    When I was boy, we celebrated Easter and everyone had a basket filled with various candies and of course the piece de resistance was the large chocolate bunny.  Picture the seven Easter baskets on the dining room table Easter morning; they were not there the night before so it was quite a sight.  Of course we kids were up at the crack of dawn, but could only eat a couple jelly beans before church and the bunny had to wait.

    One year my older brother, who would often get started first, commented that his bunny tasted bitter.  And like some extended version of the Life cereal “Mikey likes it” meets The 3 Bears, we 5 kids circled the table and variously tasted our bunnies and watched each other as we did and yes, they were all bitter, not the usual milk chocolate.

    We convened and discussed the pros and cons of asking my mom about this. My mom informed us that it was not bad chocolate; it was in fact dark chocolate and commented with a slight resignation (coming from having bought the bunnies and stayed up late to create such a wonderful Easter display) that she liked dark chocolate and if we ate it we would acquire a taste for it.  Hmm I thought to myself, I guess I could eat it, I would like to have acquired taste, sounded like a good thing to have.

    My brothers and sisters were locked in solidarity and disdain for the dark and so one by one I traded away my marshmallow bunnies, my jelly beans and my small chocolates to amass a basket full of dark chocolate bunnies, albeit with some bite marks. My mother did not see the trading floor but had some comment on all the bunnies in my basket at the end of the trading day.  I recall thinking that if I ate enough I would like it quicker and I ate so much chocolate that I experienced a mild euphoria and a sense of well being.  Later on when I started Chocolove, I reflected on the formative moments in my life and eating an entire dark chocolate bunny and feeling good was certainly one.

    Easter is Sunday March 31st this year.  Chocolove does not sell chocolate bunnies but we make a large assortment of chocolate bars in a variety of Easter-like colors. I think an assortment of Chocolove mini bars make a great addition to an Easter basket.

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