Our commitment is to make the finest chocolates and confections that we can. We want to make chocolates that appeal to all five senses. We want to make chocolates that not only have a supurb flavor but are visually appealing as well. We want to make chocolates that are emotionally satisfying. We want to make chocolates that are almost too beautiful to eat. We want to make chocolates that are "High tech, High touch"; that is, we may use computers to design our chocolates, but we make them all by hand.
About our Chocolates
All of our chocolates are either hand dipped or hand molded by us to order in our shop in Scotts Valley.
We use fresh all-natural ingredients in our chocolates with two exceptions:
- Any design color other than gold, white, silver, gray or black is made from FD&C synthetic food color (we would like to use all natural food colors, but so far we haven't found any more that work).
- The only Gianduja that we can get at a reasonable price from Callebaut contains vanillin. We are trying to find an alternate source.
We design and produce all of our own transfer sheets and most of our sheets are made with natural food color. Since we produce all of our own designs, we can fill smaller custom orders with faster turn-around times.
Most of our bulk chocolate comes from E. Guittard, Callebaut or Chocovic. We think that these have the best qualities for blending with different flavors. We are constantly trying other chocolates to see if the will work.
All of our chocolates should be stored in a cool dry place with a temperature range of between 50 70 degrees f. (do not refrigerate) and have a shelf life of about one month. The chocolates containing alcohol (wine and liqueur) will have a 2 to 3 month shelf life.
WELCOME TO OUR WONDERFUL WORLD OF CHOCOLATE VISIONS
How we began…
The electronic chip company my husband ,Lloyd, worked for was dying a slow, agonizing death. He knew at least a year prior to its closing that he would be out of a job. What he would do afterward he didn't know. He did know one thing for sure. He didn't want to have to commute to Silicon Valley every day and he wanted to be able to create something of his own.
I had said that we should do something together, start a business. Never in my wildest dreams had I envisioned chocolates. He started playing around in the kitchen and came up with a good chocolate that he took to a Slow Food dinner. People ate it and liked it. Several more dinners and different kinds of chocolates later we found that we really did have a following. Maybe we should try making chocolates for a business. Now that's a very scary thought!
That first year we found ourselves renting space in an old bakery in Soquel that was shared with several other businesses. Conditions couldn't have been worse but rent was almost cheap. At least we managed every month.
Lloyd took some time off and went through a chocolatier school. He learned about tempering chocolate, how to mix it just so, and how to put it all together. He came back bursting with ideas, eager to get started. He wanted to create chocolates that were truly unique both in design and taste.
How to sell our chocolates? The most obvious answer came from our friends, sell at the Farmer's Markets. It will give us exposure and experience. It did more than that. It gave us new ideas and ingredients to use in our chocolates.
The Chocolates, yummmmmmm….
The Herbals: Something exciting for everyone.
We did several different Farmer's Markets where we traded our chocolates for the different herbs that we couldn't grow. We ended up doing the five herbals listed below:
Lavender: this one is one of our best sellers. Everyone wants to try a lavender chocolate. The lavender is grown in Aptos, CA, and combined with olive oil from there too. More about this later with the Omega chocolate story.
Rosemary: Rosemary is one of the few plants we can grow that the deer won't eat. Since we had had such success with lavender would people want to give rosemary a try? Yes, they would. What we have found is that there are certain people who love the lavender but can't stand rosemary and others who adore rosemary but can't stand lavender. We like them both.
Basil: O.K. so we had done lavender and rosemary, maybe we should try basil. Oh yes, that works. We have discovered that there are certain people who cannot taste the basil and others who say that they can. We think that there is some sort of genetic disposition for the people who can't taste it.
Tarragon: Another unusual herbal chocolate. This is a truly under rated chocolate that is such a delight. Chocolate blended with an herb kind of like anise.
Herbal Mint.: This is the last herbal in our series of five herbs. This refreshing chocolate is made from spearmint like what is grown in backyard gardens throughout America. It really does take over the yard, so that's why we let the local farmers grow it.
The Rest of Our Assortment:
Signature/Frangelico: This chocolate later became our Signature piece but it originally was called Frangelico since it was made with that marvelous hazlenut liqueur and our hazlenut chocolate.
Maya: Inspired by the Mexicans who first made chocolate we use unrefined Mexican sugar. Oddly enough, this is our only chocolate that DOESN'T have a chocolate center. The Mexican brown sugar is mixed with cream, butter and a touch of dark rum
Tango: This was created for my Mom who was 89 and who does not like chocolate. She lives in Arizona and I went to visit her bearing gifts of what we made. Mom likes nuts, milk chocolate, and cinnamon so we made this special chocolate just for her. She was so enthralled with the Tango that she couldn't stop eating them. I had given her an extra box for her friends but she later told me that they never even got a taste because she had eaten them all and now it was my fault because her pants fit a little tight!
Rum Dome: Imagine the sound of the surf and then pirates singing "Yo, Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum" and having a swellfrom the keg.. For our friends who live near the ocean this seems like a natural. A lovely combination of dark and hearty Jamaican rum carefully blended with Belgian milk chocolate. It's enough to put a smile on any matey's face.
We buy wonderful fresh strawberries from a local grower. We make the strawberries "wild" because they're soaked in vodka for a couple of months then discarded and replaced with a new flat of berries which sits for another couple of months. After around four months of soaking the berries are discarded and then the strawberry vodka is blended with the chocolate. Imagine, strawberries swimming in vodka and then blended with chocolate. What a way to go.
Espresso Presto: Ahh, the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans wafting from the coffee roaster where we get the espresso beans. The dark beans are freshly ground and then infused with cream. Finally this is all blended with the chocolate and piped into a mold to produce a most delectable confection.
Framboise: Framboise is French for raspberry. The Framboise we use is a raspberry wine from Bonny Doon Vineyards. Raspberry wine and chocolate. What a combination!
Omega: It means the ultimate and this chocolate really delivers. Luscious melted chocolate is combined with a very special olive oil from Valencia Creek Farm in Aptos, CA. Here the olive trees are surrounded by lavender and other flowers. They infuse the growing olives with their fragrance. When the olives are pressed everyone knows whose olives they are because they emit such a wonderful floral aroma. Chocolate, cream and the olive oil are blended to produce the ganache. After it sets up it is sprinkled with a salt that was gathered from a secret salt pond off of Big Sur by a man who actually repels down a cliff to get it. We found out about him from a guy who knows a guy, who knows another guy etc.
Pumpkin: This is a seasonal chocolate since it is made from a Cinderella pumpkin and they are only available from October through December.
We roast the pumpkin, make a puree, mix our own spices and blend it with our chocolate. It tastes like a pumpkin pie without the crust in a chocolate.
Single Malt Scotch: This is for those people who find the subtle, smoky taste of a Single Malt Scotch irresistible. We have created the perfect combination of chocolate and Glen Fiddich Scotch.
Rose: Our rose chocolate is made with very expensive rose oil from Turkey. After eating a small piece of chocolate the chocolate fades into the background and the rose flavor is left rising through the olfactory cavities and remains after the chocolate is gone. It is a very special chocolate indeed.
The Vineyard Chocolates:
We do special chocolates for several wineries. We make chocolates using wines that we taste and that we think will work well with our chocolate. The chocolates carry the logo of the winery and are sold in their tasting rooms.
That is the story so far but Chocolate Visions just keep dancing in our heads.
Happy Chocolate Visions,