Author Archives: Tim Moley

  • Chocolove Now Rainforest Alliance Certified

    Chocolove is changing to a new social responsibility certification. Our products are now carrying the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal – the iconic “green frog” – to demonstrate we are sourcing from farms that produce cocoa "grown in ways that benefit farm families, wildlife and the environment." It may be news to some, but Chocolove has for many years sourced the cocoa beans that go into our chocolate from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.

    In 2017, Europe saw consolidation of labor and land certification schemes. Our previous social responsibility certifier, IMO (Fair For Life), based in Zurich, was acquired by a larger European firm called Ecocert, which decided to no longer accept Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa beans under the Fair For Life program. Simultaneously, the Rainforest Alliance merged with the Netherlands-based firm UTZ, with the aim to increase scale and impact and streamline farm certification.

    The Rainforest Alliance had set up and trained many farmer coops on labor and land practices for the farmer cooperatives from which we source. Our Belgian chocolate supplier had further trained the same farmer cooperatives on quality and had agreed to long-term contracts to purchase cocoa beans from them for 1 to 2 years into the future. So when we were faced with making the decision between certification programs, we chose to stay with and support the farmers who have opted into responsible labor and land practices and have improved their operations and quality under the Rainforest Alliance program. These farmers trusted us with their future and we will continue to stick with them.

    In short, Chocolove continues to value our social, sustainable, and ethical principles. The premium quality of our chocolate is the same, the cocoa farmers who we source from are the same, and the certification program on the farms is the same. The Rainforest Alliance has in fact raised the bar for their farm certification over the years and now, together with UTZ , we again find our best fit.

    Look for the Rainforest Alliance Certified green frog seal on Chocolove packaging beginning in May 2018.

  • Happy Easter 2018

    When faced with a chocolate bunny, after admiring its sheen and calculating that it is not likely to look 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 take a taste as it is my main job: the keeper of the taste. I must admit to a certain child-like demeanor that overcomes me and 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 pièce de résistance 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” commercial mixed with "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," we five kids circled the table and variously tasted our bunnies and watched each other as we did. And yes, they were all bitter and not the usual milk chocolate.

    We discussed the pros and cons of asking my mom about this. My mom informed us that it was, in fact, dark chocolate. She commented 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 because an 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 day. I recall thinking that if I ate enough I would acquire a taste. I ate so much chocolate that I experienced a mild euphoria and a sense of well being.

    Many years later when I started Chocolove, I reflected on the formative chocolate moments in my life and eating an entire dark chocolate bunny and feeling good afterwards was certainly one.

    Easter is Sunday, April 1st and even though Chocolove does not sell chocolate bunnies, we do 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.

    Happy Easter from Chocolove.

  • Go Ahead, Schoggi

    Schoggi: it’s a cuter word in Swiss for "chocolate".

    According to the Urban Dictionary, chocolate is love and makes everything in life better. Now, I must admit taking the Urban Dictionary’s word for something that happens to help support my view feels like a bit of a win-by-referee, but today I will take it.

    A Swiss man gave me schoggi in 1984; a gift across time and space that had a butterfly effect on my life. This time of year I reflect upon all of this coming together with me—as an Iowa farm boy—to deliver up millions of happier people on Valentine’s Day years later.

    "What?" you say. Yes, schoggi, the culture of chocolate in Switzerland and a gift in thanks for a helpful deed, is an influence on Chocolove. When I received schoggi I felt the thanks intrinsically and I must admit it was the best chocolate I had eaten up until that time. While the taste of great chocolate is understandable, the concept of a good feeling from schoggi becomes obvious to many in the US one day of the year: Valentine’s Day.

    The gift of chocolate in the US on Valentine’s Day is an overture and an expression of love. So on the window of love this Valentine's Day—the day when such overtures are understood or expected and perhaps requited—if you are feeling it, go ahead, schoggi. Give the gift of Chocolove, it could lead to great things.

    Happy Valentine’s Day.

  • From A Time and Place Far Away

    Sometimes the seed moment—the origin of something—comes from a time and place far away, and so it is with the founding of Chocolove.

    It was a cold winter night in the Iowa countryside in the 1980s; visibility reduced by the white-out conditions of a blizzard. I was in my VW Rabbit carefully driving on a gravel road with the lights of the dashboard offering comfort and the heater blowing full blast.  This was a stark contrast to the minus-20-degree wind chill and 40 mph side winds buffeting my car. The snow was drifting on the road slowing the car with each drift.  I feared that if I did not maintain speed and hit each drift with sufficient force I would likely high center and be stuck in a drift and have to walk home in the bitter cold and blinding wind-blown snow. The ditches and all low spots had filled and the snow was so intense that only having driven home on this road so many times before actually kept me on the road and kept me from getting stuck.

    As I crested the hill near my 1880 farm house, I saw a twinkling of what I thought were car lights on "my" road. I sighed and wondered who also had tried to drive this road on this night of all nights. I refocused my attention to the road and finished driving home. When I got home, I looked again and indeed saw car lights and my thoughts returned to the other driver and whether they were okay. Even though I was dressed in extreme cold weather gear from head to toe like an artic explorer, I knew that there was the risk of death or the loss of fingers, nose, or toes should I slip and fall.  I buttoned my fur-lined hood into a snorkel, tightened my straps on my mittens, and with a hearty sigh and shovel in hand as a walking stick, resolved to go help this person. I leaned into the wind with a here-we-go feeling as I trudged toward the car lights.

    The snow was 2 feet deep so each step was an effort, and the wind was gusting to 40 mph. The blasts of wind loaded with ice crystals stung my face and eyes and had me turning my back to the wind and walking backwards every 20 steps. Roughly 200 yards away, into the wind and on the road, I saw an incredulous sight: a man walking in a business suit tightly holding his sport coat as if to keep the wind from peeling it off. The stark contrast stunned me. Him dressed for a summer day, with no coat, no hat, no gloves, and no boots; while I was dressed in extreme cold weather gear. I soon snapped out of it and realized that this guy could suffer frostbite or worse. While few words were spoken as the wind roared, we turned our back to the storm and walked to the farmhouse.

    We arrived at the farm house some minutes later. It was both odd and special to have a visitor on such a blizzardy night. Although I had rescued people before, this man was truly in serious condition but we had no way to get emergency assistance. I wrapped him in a wool blanket and made tea for him, all the while wondering who this man was as he could not talk due to his shivers.

    When he finally did speak, the first thing he said in a chattering manner was ... to be continued ....

  • Season of Giving

    The Holidays. We know the holiday season by many names; one of them is "the season of giving". This year, Chocolove is giving to the children's cancer research organization, The Morgan Adams Foundation.

    Morgan Adams's spirit lives on in a group of dedicated researchers and doctors based at the Children's Hospital in Denver, Colorado. They are dedicated to finding cures for children's cancer. Kids have so much to live for and have no knowledge of lifestyle choices to avoid getting cancer. Children's bodies are different than adults and require different approaches to help cure. Because a child's life has just begun, there is no rationalization of how damaging a treatment can be on a child, to save a life. Every effort must be made to cure a child's cancer with the child having a full recovery and, if possible, no collateral damage so they can go on to live a long, full life.

    To this end, a novel and careful drug delivery method is required. Binding drugs to gold nanoparticles is such a method being studied by Dr. Rajeev Vibhakar of The Morgan Adams Foundation.

    This pioneering work uses nanoparticle-sized gold as a carrier to bind and deliver cancer drugs specifically to cancer cells. This research will allow for more effective treatment with less drugs and less healthy cells being damaged and, therefore, less side effects. The research steps are several and the results so far are promising.

    This year Chocolove has created a gift box of 12 decadent dark chocolates filled with liquid caramel and dusted with real gold flakes. The 23-karat gold dust is real and so is the amazing chocolate/liquid caramel experience. The inspiration for the nano-amounts of gold dusting these chocolates is heartfelt.

    Chocolove will donate 100% of the proceeds for this item to The Morgan Adams Foundation. It is a beautiful boxed set of chocolates. The gold dust is real and our aim is noble. And we are giving 100%. A true labor of love.

    Happy Holidays from Chocolove.

    Celebrate the Season with our new Holiday gift box. Shop online now.

  • Sharing Love With Sonoma and Napa

    I heave a big sigh every time I think of Sonoma and Napa, California, and the wildfires devastating that area. I take time a couple of times a day to check in and read the news and look at photos.

    I lived in Sonoma County near Santa Rosa for 7 years and have visited the region every 2 or 3 years since. To my friends in Sonoma, my heart goes out to you. The images are made all the more real by my personal experiences of having driven down those same streets, seen those exact homes, been in those buildings, and walked the land now scorched.

    Chocolove has sent about 8,000 bars off to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds to provide a little love to those in need of a little love at this time. The John Jordan Foundation reached out and provided the connection to make this donation happen.

    Chocolove was borne of a necessity to take care of people. It's ironic that the early ideas, inspirations, and affirmations to make chocolate started in Sonoma County. It was there that I picked wild black raspberries and dipped them in chocolate to bring to my local wine tasting group for dessert. It was there that I first learned the power of a well made piece of chocolate to brighten people's lives. So it's time to give back and brighten people's lives. As part of the shipment, we are sending Chocolove Raspberries in Dark Chocolate bars.

    Sonoma and Napa we are with you in spirit.  We will stay with you.

  • Houston We Are With You

    "Ok, Houston, we've had a problem here."

    These words somehow transcend space and time. Like a koan, they illustrate Chocolove's paradox: you see, we rely on Houston. Figuratively, we are out here in space and our shipment control center is in Houston. Literally, all of our chocolate is imported and comes through the port of Houston; about 3 truckloads a week. So we are in weekly contact with Houston and anything affecting Houston affects Chocolove. Houston has been very good to us.

    On Wednesday of last week we loaded 6 pallets of Chocolove product—about 48,000 Chocolove bars in total—on a Frozen Food Express (FFE) truck. FFE is a Dallas-based trucking company, and despite a shortage of trucks and refrigerated trailers at this time, was gracious to haul our donation to the Houston Food Bank free of charge. Houston Food Bank will be distributing Chocolove bars over the next 2 weeks. While for some it will be only a chocolate bar; for others it will be Chocolove. I am sure they will know we thought of them and cared enough to send some love their way.

    While it is one small shipment for Chocolove, we hope it is one large hug for some 48,000 of mankind. Houston we are with you.

  • Happy Birthday Chocolove!

    Twenty-seven years ago I was tasked with making a desert for a wine tasting group that I was a member of. I was working as a taster and Quality Control Manager for an herbal tea company at the time. After a long day of work I had little time to get ready for my wine tasting group. On my way home I picked some black raspberries in a nearby field, and when at home I hustled to dip them in chocolate and chill them, and sorted out the very best ones to take to the wine tasting.

    The meal and tasting wound down to desert and then perked up again. It was quite amazing to me how my fellow tasters went (what I thought) was a bit overboard in their praise for the chocolate berry treat. At first I thought it was the wine talking, but I watched and listened as people enjoyed the chocolate, savoring the moment and becoming much happier. This moment made a lasting impression on me.

    The tasting group appointed me their dedicated chocolatier. This started a pattern of me making larger and more frequent batches and using a variety of chocolates for a number of occasions. After a few years of amateur chocolate making I was faced with a new opportunity: a baby girl and how to provide for her and our family. Thus the impetus for starting Chocolove—all arising from a need and desire to take care of people.

    The courage to start came from the ability to taste in chocolate what others might have missed and the confidence to start Chocolove came from years of making people happy with chocolate.

    September 2017 marks the 22nd birthday for Chocolove.

  • More Non-GMO Verified Products

    Chocolove is happy to share that we have 6 more products that have been Non-GMO Project verified.

    We've been enrolled in the Non-GMO Project for over 2 years now.  The journey has been long and challenging at times to get our vendors aligned with our goal to have all of our products fully verified, but we now have a total of 21 Non-GMO Project verified products.

    The 6 newly verified products are

    • - Rich Dark Chocolate (65% Cocoa Content)
    • - Ginger Crystallized in Dark Chocolate(65% Cocoa Content)
    • - Strong Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa Content) [3.2 oz]
    • - Strong Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa Content) [1.3 oz]
    • - Extra Strong Dark Chocolate (77% Cocoa Content)
    • - Extreme Dark Chocolate (88% Cocoa Content)

    Updated product artwork featuring the Non-GMO Project logo will be out soon. We will also update the website with this new information soon.

    We aren't giving up on our goal to have all of our products fully Non-GMO Project verified. Stay tuned!

  • Happy Father's Day

    While I may have learned to cook from my mother, it was my from my father that I learned about enterprise. Growing up in a family of five kids, I was his helper; perhaps because I was willing to listen, wanting to learn, or because I found it more interesting to be working than playing. Frequently, my father would take me with him when he worked, which often translated into me working long hours with low pay, often for peanuts, literally.

    However, some of our endeavors were more classic-natured such as a lemonade stand. His father had owned a small soft-drink company in the late 1930s and my father was also a chemist by training so it was no surprise that my father knew how to make great lemonade. I can still recall (over 4 decades later) going to the SunMart  grocery store and watching my father negotiate with the Produce Manager to buy lugs of lemons. Then we would clear the shelf of bags of sugar, empty the Dixie Cup shelf, and finally make a major dent in the bagged ice freezer. I was puzzled by the quantity that we were buying, but proud to push one heavy grocery cart, and it got lots of comments and smiles.

    My father's scale of doing a lemonade stand had me wide-eyed and oh-my-gosh-looking.  True to his and my dynamic, he put me to work in the sun and assured me I would sell more if he were out of the picture, watching from a distance in the shade. I set up my stand of homemade fresh-squeezed lemonade on the edge of our property, which was the edge of the golf course next to the Number 4 tee. I learned the fine art of balancing sweet and sour and water and ice. I learned customer service first hand. I had golfers lined up for a few minutes all day long.  I did so well at selling lemonade that I was visited by the club house manager who bought a glass of my lemonade and then commented it was good but I was cutting into their revenue.  By the third weekend I was doing great, but when I had not folded up shop as expected, the club house manger shut down my stand.  My father and I enjoyed the small win of doing so well we were asked to stop.

    While setting up an enterprise may not be in the cards this Father’s Day, perhaps a glass of lemonade, paired with a Chocolove Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate will be.

    Happy Father’s Day.

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