Chocomize was just recently featured in Family Circle magazine! They were doing a feature on great gifts for Valentine’s Day, and picked us as one of the ideas. They wrote a fantastic bit about how awesome we are, and they had some great pictures of our chocolate bars. We don’t have a link yet, but you guys should check it out if you get a chance in the store.
Stay tuned for our special holiday packaging that we will be releasing soon, as well as all the specialized ingredients we are going to have.
Christmas and New years are over, but that doesn’t mean that the holidays are done for. It’s only a little over a month until Valentine’s Day! As usual, in the lead up to Valentine’s Day we are going to add a bunch of different holiday themed ingredients. We already have candy sugar hearts, rose petals, violet petals, and 23 karat gold flakes, but we’re going to add plaques that say ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ as well as other surprise ingredients!
In addition to adding a bunch of delicious Valentine’s Day themed ingredients, we are going to offer special packaging. Just like the holiday packaging for Christmas, there is a limited quantity, so we suggest that all our fans get in on this early before they run out! They are currently being shipped to our factory, so we’ll keep you updated on the date when we start using them for every order. In the meantime, feel free to get a special sneak peek to what it’s going to look like:
Last Friday, Chocomize was presented with the New Jersey Small Business Success award, given by the New Jersey Small Business Development Center. This means that we were voted one of the top small businesses in all of New Jersey! A lot of our fans know that our chocolate originates from Belgium, but not a lot of people know that our business itself is located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. We love the community that we are a part of, and we are really honored to be voted one of its best businesses.
When the idea for Chocomize was first started, we needed a lot of help to get it off the ground. We took advantage of the local business development center located in Rutgers, Camden. There we got a lot of great advice and help that allowed us to make Chocomize the success that it is today. We are so proud to be given this award after almost exactly the one year anniversary of our launch.
As always, thanks to all our fans for making us such a success!
Almost an entire year ago, we sent President Barack Obama some of our chocolate bars to try. Obama is a fellow Columbia alumnus, and we thought he might enjoy some of our delicious custom chocolate. We sent him a dark chocolate bar with almonds and pistachios, a milk chocolate bar with cayenne pepper and chipotles, and a gift certificate for him to create his own bar. To read the full story, check out the blog post that we wrote here.
About eleven months later, we finally got a reply! It turns out the President of the United States is not allowed to accept monetary gifts, so the gift certificate we gave him was returned in the mail. Our chocolate bars were not given back, however, and now Eric is convinced that Obama actually tried our chocolate. Odds are that some lucky White House employee ended up eating the chocolate, but we think it’s pretty cool that there is a chance that the President could have been snacking on our Spicy Special favorites bar up in the Oval Office.
We did get a signed letter from him. Here is what it said:
Loved the chocolate bars, thanks for adding my favorite ingredients! Let me know if you are ever in Washington, you can come by and hang out in the WH.
Your biggest fan,
P.S. My wife thinks Nick is really cute.
We’ve now got the letter hanging in our office, and we’re pretty pumped about it.
P.S. Hopefully You're able to read the real letter in the picture above...
I rowed in the lightweight four in New Zealand along with Will Daly, Anthony Fahden, and Ryan Fox. Although Will and Ryan have no affiliation with Chocomize, Anthony will work in our offices from time to time, and was spotted wearing his Chocomize uniform for one of the practices (check out the picture to the right. Sam Stitt, one of Chocomize’s chief choclatiers, rowed in the heavyweight four event. My boat ended up placing 10th overall, while Sam Stitt’s heavyweight four placed 5th.
New Zealand is known for its strict custom rules, but despite these impediments I was able to sneak a couple of Chocomize bars into the country. I was in New Zealand for only three weeks and had a very limited supply of Chocomize bars, so after having spent the past year eating chocolate all day at the factory, I was in some serious withdrawal. After my final race, I finally broke out the Chocomize chocolate bars (milk chocolate with pretzels and chocolate candy pieces, a recent favorite) and the entire team, as well as some of the foreign rowers, was able to dig into our delicious chocolate.
I’m happy to report that New Zealand was great, but it’s nice being back in the US and back at work where there is an endless supply of chocolate to eat. Thanks for all your support!
P.S. Here are some pictures of us racing:
Sam Stitt, is second from left in the picture above
From Left, Will Daly, Ryan Fox, Nick LaCava, Anthony Fahden
Great news! We just got our brand new holiday packaging. Check it out on the left. From now on, our all chocolate bars will be using our brand new design, which makes our custom chocolate bars a perfect gift for this holiday season. Unfortunately, we only have a limited supply of these specially designed boxes, so make sure you order before it’s too late.
To give our loyal fans a little more incentive, we are also offering a 10% discount for those who want to get a head start on the holiday rush. Simply type ‘Holiday10’ into the coupon section of the checkout to redeem your discount.
On another note, we’d like to thank Christianne Dawis for the great job she did designing our holiday packaging. The packaging looks so great that you almost don’t want to open it to eat the bar…note the key word almost, nothing could stop us from wanting to eat our chocolate!
We recently ended our Halloween contest, and congratulations to Molly Breakiron (and her extremely cute kid) for winning! In case you missed the news, anyone who posted a picture of their Halloween costume on our Facebook page, entered a chance to win our chocolate of the month club. This means that the lucky winner got four specially designed chocolate bars at the beginning of each month for three months! We hope everyone had a great Halloween, and stay tuned for our next contest…
On October 25 Chocomize founders Eric Heinbockel and Fabian Kaempfer headed up to Boston to visit Harvard Business School for a presentation and discussion regarding Chocomize’s operations and growth. Eric and Fabian attended two Technology and Operations Management classes, each with 90 first year MBA students. The core of the presentation and Q&A centered around the dilemmas that small custom products manufacturers like Chocomize face as they grow rapidly. Key to the discussion was the fact that as Chocomize grows there is increasing pressure to produce very large orders. In the last few months Chocomize has been approached by several institutions for orders ranging from 10,000 custom chocolate bars all the way up to 50,000 bars. These large orders offer their own unique challenges to operations and the 180 Harvard MBA students the Chocomize founders met with discussed many unique solutions and insights.
The Chocomize founders were asked to come to Harvard to discuss the challenges of growing a co-creation company after HBS operations professor read about Chocomize in Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The Chocomize founders were honored to participate in discussions with so many talented MBA students at one of the most prestigious business schools in the world. HBS boasts an impressive history with graduates like Robert McNamara, Michael Bloomberg and even Jack Donaghy. The Chocomize founders look forward to continuing their academic discussions November 10th when they will be participating in Rutgers Business School’s Guest Professor Series, this time focusing on marketing strategies.
Chocomize is proud to announce that it has upgraded its beef jerky. We are now using Slantshack Jerky! Slantshack was started by fellow Columbia alumni who had a strong passion for both beef jerky and co-creation. They developed some of the tastiest jerky in America. It was so good that Maxim named it one of the top ten jerkies in America. If we thought chocolate and beef jerky was a good idea before we teamed up with these guys, well we’re sure of it now!
In addition to making insanely good beef jerky, Slantshak is also a co-creation company like us. Here’s how they work: You first select the portion size. Then you can choose whether you want regular or grass fed beef. Next you can choose the marinade, rub, and glaze. Their rubs have all been developed in house and contain some great names like ‘Jerk McGurk’s Wild Rubdown’ and ‘Smoky Sanche’s Dusty Trail.’ So if you like being able to create your own chocolate bars, you’re definitely going to love creating your own beef jerky. Check them out at www.Slantshackjerky.com.
Halloween is our favorite holiday at Chocomize, and it's always a big competition between the three of us to see who has the best costume. I usually dress up as Harry Potter, while Fabian and Eric usually dress as up as something super lame. We were having an argument about who had the better costume idea for this year, and we realized that we wanted to see our fan’s Halloween costumes! If you think you have a great Halloween costume, post a picture of yourself on our Facebook page. We will pick the best costume, and the winner will get our chocolate of the month club for three months. That is three months of free Chocomize bars!
The contest will be open until November 7th (one week after Halloween.) After that time, we will pick the best costume, and that person will appear on our blog.
Halloween is just around the corner (you can tell this is a popular holiday for us) and so we did some research to find out some Halloween trivia. Here are some fun facts about the holiday that we bet you didn’t know:
-The traditional Halloween colors are orange and black with orange representing the fall harvest and black representing death.
-an even more random fun fact, there aren’t any words in the English language that rhyme with orange.
-Jack-o-lanterns come from Ireland where people used them to ward off evil spirits.
-The tradition of wearing costumes on Halloween night comes from the Celtics who believed that evil spirits came out on Halloween and that by wearing costumes they could avoid them.
-The US candy industry sells around 2 billion dollars every year for Halloween.
-Trick or treating is supposed to have originated from the Celtics. Before their big Halloween party (they called it All Hallows Eve) they would go door to door collecting food for their big yearly feast.
-Bobbing for apples is a ritual that dates all the way back to the Roman Empire.
-The first citywide celebration of Halloween in the US took place in Anoka Minnesota in 1921.
-Around 40 million people go trick or treating every year.
-Around 10 billion pieces of candy corn will be made this year for Halloween.
Halloween is just around the corner and in celebration we've created two new Halloween themed favorites bars. The first one called the ‘Trick or Treat’ bar is milk chocolate with candy corn, fall leaves, and candy bats (candy corn and chocolate tastes absolutely delicious together.) The second bar, named after one of Chocomize’s most played artists (in the production room) is called the ‘Thriller.’ It is dark chocolate with candy bats and orange and black sugar. Personally I’m a fan of the ‘Thriller’ bar, but Fabian insists that the ‘Trick or Treat’ chocolate bar is much better. We’ll leave it up to you guys to decide. Check them out on our favorites page.
We can’t believe its October already! The weather is getting cold (no more ice packs), the leaves are falling off the trees, and holiday season is just around the corner. You guys can probably guess that one of our favorite holidays is Halloween. We still can’t get over the fact that there is actually one day out of the year where people give out free candy. In anticipation, we’ve already started adding some holiday related decorations that you can add to your custom chocolate bars.
To go with the Halloween theme, we’ve also added candy bats that taste scary good (great pun huh.) In addition to the candy bats we’ve also added the perennial favorite candy corn and also sugar leaves to go with the fall theme.
If you have any other suggestion for Halloween or fall related ingredients, let us know! We always love getting ideas from our fans.
Chocomize has been featured in the Grey Lady! As a lot of our fans know, Chocomize was featured in Oprah magazine back in June of this year. During that time period, we were completely inundated with orders. Amy Wallace, a reporter from the New York Times, heard about our story and thought it would be great to write about. If you want to read the whole article, check it out here. And to all our new fans just checking us out, welcome and have fun designing the chocolate bar of your dreams!
Unfortunately, with this being just my third The View from Candyland post, it is also my last. Today, I bid farewell to the town of Cherry Hill, at least until October 14th, when I have to come back and fight the ludicrous traffic ticket I was given for not stopping to let a "pedestrian" who was standing still on the yellow lines in the middle of the street cross to the other side. Turns out the pedestrian was an undercover police officer in the midst of a sting operation to crack down on people who drive past "pedestrians" standing in the middle of the street. Or something like that. In case you can't detect this already in my tone, I was none too excited to get this ticket which was worth a hefty chunk of money and points (no that "s" was not a mistake, multiple points) on my license.
It's been an interesting final week at the epicenter of custom chocolate creation. Not only did we have a large corporate order to fill, which we got out just in the Nick of time (pun intended as Nick got lost while we were driving it to the UPS Store), but we also hammered out some great bars from individual orders, and just yesterday sent out the bars for the Chocolate of the Month Club. With the weather finally cooling off, it's been nice not to have to pack ice and protective liners into every single order box.
Nick has spent the week without a computer of his own as he had to send it to Dell to be repaired, but he has been able to scratch and claw along on other people's computers to keep up communications while shifting more of his focus to the production side of things. Don't worry, none of this has affected his ability to taste test the ingredients. He assures us that the Skittles and Sour Patch Kids are still as delicious and un-nutritious as ever.
I won't bore you like Jim did with the whole rundown of what I'll be doing in my time afterward but I am on my way back up to New York City to try and make a man out of myself. We'll see how that goes. In the meantime, Go Phils.
As you probably already know, Chocomize’s interests are not limited to the creation of delicious combinations of premium Belgian chocolate and a vast array of quality ingredients. With many of us growing up in the sport of rowing, the maritime arena is one with which we are very familiar and of which we are quite fond.
So when we stumbled across this little bit of quirky news, we couldn’t help but pass it along to you guys, all of our loyal fans. Turns out that in France, chocolatier Georges Larnicol was able to successfully construct a functional sailboat hull and mast entirely from chocolate and sugar.
Anyway, without further ado, please check this out...it's pretty cool and it's funny when they almost flip.
As we mentioned in last week’s latest The View From Candyland post, we have been in the process recently of giving our website something of a face-lift. We have spent substantial time looking at what we liked about our current look and how we wanted to change it in appearance and functionality. We think that the new design offers a cleaner appearance, gives you more options of how to access our product, and highlights the fun, young attitude that permeates our company. We hope the new look will make the site a little bit more palatable as you move through it.
As usual, though, we want to know what you think. Right now, the above homepage image is the only thing we have to show, but let us know how you like it. Leave a comment so we can hear some feedback.
Well, it’s that time again. Time to update our loyal readers about the goings on in the world of good, American-made custom chocolate. Business is a-booming here and we are busting it to keep up with the unbelievable influx of orders. It’s a great problem to have, and we are begging you to keep making our jobs harder. We love it.
The Harry Potter tapes have taken a weeklong break, so we hope to hear back from Harry, Ron, and Hermione starting next week to find out what shenanigans Harry will get mixed up in next. In a related note, have you guys seen the trailer for the Deathly Hallows movie(s)? Man, those two movies are going to be awesome. Just don’t bring it up to Fabian. He’s not such a fan of the wizarding wonders of Hogwarts.
It’s a big time for the rowers in our group, as the World Championships in New Zealand are fast approaching. Nick and part-time chocolate bar artist Sam Stit are both preparing for the big races on the other side of the globe that will be taking place at the end of October and beginning of November. On Wednesday, Sam and Nick were officially named to the heavyweight and lightweight straight fours, respectively.
Nick’s laptop has seen better days, and as of today it is entering truly dangerous territory. His monitor has been hanging on loosely for a while now, and the second of the two hinges that hold the monitor in place recently broke. The computer is still functional, but it kind of looks like there was a tug of war over his laptop. From what I can tell, there was no winner of the tug of war. Just a loser: Nick.
Make sure keep your eyes out in the coming weeks, as the site will be getting a little face-lift. We have been working on the makeover for a bit now, and we think we’re getting pretty close to a new look that we think will better reflect the young, fun-loving attitude clearly present in a group of people dedicated to building chocolate bars.
When you think of America, what do you think of? Apple pie? Baseball? Obesity? How about red tape? Bureaucracy and procedural headaches might be the most American things there are, and Chocomize just reached the end of a paperwork process that was painstakingly slow. After months of waiting, Chocomize has officially received its US trademark for its company name.
This doesn’t really change anything about our business, our service, or our chocolate (mmm our chocolate…) but we thought people would be interested to know we now have our papers all straightened out and our company is now officially sanctioned as the American company for hand-crafted personalized premium chocolate bars.
So, if you ever have a chance to stop into the sweetest corner warehouse in the 1879 Industrial Center, you can rest assured that our brand new trademark(pictured to the left) will be proudly displayed in between rowing pictures, the ubiquitous Chocomize poster, and our giant modern art paint-splatter painting.
In lieu of the traditional blog post discussing facts about chocolate and new deals to be found on the Chocomize site, I thought it would be fun to discuss a famous person who associates himself with chocolate. The self-decided moniker (to go along with “Sir Slam” and “Dr. Dunkenstein”) makes him a perfect candidate for analysis.
So, let’s take a look at Darryl Dawkins in relation to some words commonly associated with the world of premium chocolate:
Rich: No brainer here, as Dawkins was a professional athlete, meaning that he made the kind of money most of us can only dream of. As one of the first professional basketball players ever to receive a million-dollar salary, his estimated career earnings land him somewhere around $7 million, or enough to purchase almost 800 thousand Cinnamon Special bars.
Smooth: Chocolate Thunder did not get his name by accident. While being notoriously powerful, it was his grace and agility as a dunker that earned him a high profile during his playing days. He was also notorious for being something of a club rat, carousing in the nighttime with perhaps the smoothest player of the era, Julius “Dr. J” Erving.
Robust: Dawkins was a big boy, measuring out at 6 feet 11 inches and 255 pounds. He was so big and strong, in fact, that he had a reputation for breaking the backboard. He did it twice in the space of three weeks, leading the NBA to create a rule that it was a finable offense for a player to break the backboard. Ever the nickname artist, Dawkins named his patented move “The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam."
For these qualities and the creativity only rivaled by our customers at our Creation Station, we salute Darryl Dawkins for doing the chocolate world proud.