Tool Box...with tools!
Christmas Stockings full of goodies
Dove Box made of white chocolate
Trinket Box packaged with chocolates
As I wrote about here, I am a chocoholic. I always have been and, most likely always will be.
I've been working with chocolate for about 13 years (eating it......well...that's been much longer ;0) ) What started out as a hobby, has now become a part-time, home-based business.
I still remember the first time I saw a chocolate mould and the melting wafers....I thought...."hmmmm.....I can do this". I immediately bought a mould, some melting wafers and hurried off home. Much to my amazement, it worked and my creation actually turned out!
From there...I moved into selling a few pieces --- suckers, novelty items and boxes made completely of chocolate. Although fairly happy with my creations, I was only using the melting wafers purchased at the bulk store. While this was ok and I was selling some......I longed for the real stuff --- pure, silky Belgian and French chocolate is what I wanted to work with. After all, as a true chocoholic I needed the real stuff and wouldn't be happy until I could use it (and then of course, eat it).
After unsuccessfully trying to locate somebody who would actually teach me how to work with the real stuff, I finally realized I'd have to find out for myself. Off to the bookstore and library to peruse the multitude of books. As with many things one book directly contradicted the next book....very confusing. I took several notes. Again though, much to my amazement, my first creation with the real, pure, ooohhh so smooth chocolate worked out! Ecstatic I was....Some of my customers did not understand the change in price, they were happy with the taste of the imitation chocolate.....but to me, nothing comes close to the real, pure stuff. Mmmmmm
After I had learned the technique, I did find a baking school that offered some courses. Larry and I enrolled in these and while I was there to make sure I'd been doing things properly, I think Larry was there to see how many of the creations he could eat lol. Oh well....I enjoyed his company lol. I was glad to know, everything I had learned through the books and on my own was right.
One added benefit of doing this is the flexibility it offers me ---- and I love flexibility (one reason why we homeschool). I can homeschool as well as make chocolate and the two fit beautifully in around each other. I can arrange my day the way it works best for me like. So whether I'm making truffles for a wedding or suckers for a birthday party or batches of almond bark for a fundraiser....I can mix it up and pour it before we start homeschooling, let it set up while we do our schooling and then finish it before lunch.
The kids love helping me with this venture too....helping me sell at a sale or taste testing a new product or learning about chocolate.....it ties in beautifully with homeschooling. They've learned a bit about running a business, making change, interacting with customers and even making a sales speech (this one is Jake's speciality lol)
Chocolate also allows me to be creative, without really being creative. I've made 3-D houses out of chocolate, a 3-D piano, golf balls, tool boxes, gift boxes made completely of chocolate....the only real limit is the imagination.
So while chocolate started out as a passion for me, it then turned into a hobby and eventually into a business. It's also taken me places I never would have thought of on my own. Over the years, I've been asked to teach a workshop at the local community college, been invited to do demonstrations at various women's groups (sometimes this takes the form of a demonstration, sometimes it's more of a workshop where they create things), the opportunity to do a Valentine's Day workshop with some homeschoolers, provide a chocolate making opportunity at birthday parties, provide hands-on experience for my children, participate in sales, weddings, fundraisers...the list goes on. Whenever a new opportunity is presented, I try to rise to the occasion. I'm not sure how successful I am but I always have fun with it.
I'm always looking for new suggestions, challenges or bookings for local events....so I'd be interested in hearing any ideas you may have!