Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Zimt puts the "i" in Integrity and the "m" and "t" in Christmas and the "z" in Kwanzaa.

Hi Everyone!

Hope you are all enjoying the season. I am. Being pretty lazy and not making chocolate since... nearly Friday.  Starts again tomorrow.

Look at what I got for Christmas from the lovely folks at Hurraw:

They didn't actually send them to me as a Christmas gift, but they did end up under my Christmas tree- thank you, Hurraw!!!  (Available at Nice Shoes. FYI =) ).

Here's what's happening in the world of Zimt:

  • Not much.

  • Kidding! Sort of. Maybe I will just make a to-do list as a preview:
    • organic certification application
    • EE handbook
    • Fair trade certification application
    • vegan symbol
    • order melter
    • order chocolate syringes
    • make chocolate. oh yeah. 
    • prep for new product line. packaging. 
    • renew business license w city. 
    • flip a coin- more UPCs? 
    • maybe do an analysis on ROI for the above. 
    • or just flip a coin.
    • fix up business plan 
    • production schedule. maybe can wait. 
    • get labels printed. now. last week. The only problem is, I have to fix them up, and am not quite sure how to do so properly, and don't want to bug Sabrina to do that, because her family is visiting for Christmas. I think I will learn.
    • test 2 recipes.
    • nutrition analysis for ... four recipes.  New nutrition tables.
    • cave. ask Sabrina to design a new label for new bars. New bars! 
    • wait for a myriad of people to get back to me about many things.  In the meantime...
  • feed addiction for http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-yLGIH7W9Y&feature=relmfu - is that bad? Or accurate. ?. 
  •  Many last minute Christmas present orders- thank God for inventory =D 
  • Zimt will soon be available at Whole Foods locations throughout the lower mainland. Hopefully at one near you. And also at other retail locations. 
  • If you would like to order chocolate directly from me, please order through www.zimt.ca/bars.html and if you have any special notes to add, please write these in the bit where you pay via PayPal. Thank you!!! 
What is with the "i" and Integrity bit?

Coconut. The coconut that is in the Chocolate Coconut Crisp and the Chocolate Coconut Fudge may not be raw. Here is what happened:
I order the coconut through a local distributor, who gets the coconut from their supplier. I asked the distributor to verify that this coconut is in fact raw. Really raw. The reply being, that a lot of raw foodies in Vancouver source from them. I knew that- this is one of the ways I was able to easily source from them- I was familiar with other companies using this brand.  I had initially gone through another supplier, based in the USA, which specializes in raw products. But they sent me the wrong type of coconut flake, so I decided to look at other options. And found the local guys, who, to be honest, are really great.  Anyway... long story short is, I wasn't satisfied with the answer of "everybody's doing it", so I kept bugging them about temperatures and processing and... the answer? Temperature for processing and storage could not be verified.

Personally, I am fine with eating toasted coconut. I think it's pretty good.

But it isn't raw, and my product is marketed as being raw. And I don't want to be deceiving people, just because I didn't put in enough effort to verify the integrity of my product.

So... as of last week, where I was processing these really large coconut flakes, sent to me by my original supplier of coconut flakes, to be smaller and more appropriate for their fudge-y purposes,  no more questionable coconut. I do have inventory with some of the perhaps (maybe? Maybe not? depends on how I'm feeling? Ugh!) non-raw coconut.  But any bars dated after March 17th will be made with the coconut I processed myself in a Vita Mix blender.  Enjoy the extra labour-love costs I am absorbing! I do this happily. I want you to have a good product that you can believe in. No short cuts.

I remember this time last year, going for a walk with my mom, and we ran into some family friends. And the dad asked me what I was planning on doing with myself after graduating from business school. And I said I would start a chocolate company. And I had been thinking about how chocolate might be made, and how truffles might be filled, while on this walk.

And now I am done this post.

Merry Christmas from Familie Zimt!
L to R, B to F: Oma, Opa, Justin, Me, Michelle.

Thank you for reading!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's official!

Hi =)

Here's the latest and greatest:

  • Whole Foods- it happened. Officially. If you  go to the Whole Foods on Cambie and 8th, and head to the chocolate isle, and look on the second shelf from the bottom, with the "special" tags, you will see Zimt chocolate! Here is an image I took the first time I saw them there and thought "I wrapped so many chocolate bars.":
Zimt at Whole Foods- kind of a big deal.
First Whole Foods delivery- a big day for Theo!

 And here is a picture of me and the lovely Leeanne- the day I dropped off the bars:
Lovely Leeanne and Elated Emma.

  • This is what happened that day- it was Thursday, December 8th. I had a demo at Greens in the morning, from 10 until 2pm, which was fun as per usual! Not  a particularly high traffic time, but that's okay because I met some really enthusiastic and inquisitive people, and my friend from high school, Andrea, came to visit.  =)
  • Then there was the Whole Foods demo from 5 until 8pm, and I was very thankful for the generous help of a student from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition... because I couldn't have done it without her help. People were lining up like crazy! It was really encouraging to hear people's feedback and about how much they like Zimt chocolate. Fingers crossed.
  • I wrote a business plan! It was super intense and I didn't really sleep at all for maybe three days in a row, but that's quite my own fault for leaving it to the last minute. Though not really, because I was busy running a business. Which I should've had a plan for from the get go. But didn't because... its just... writing reports is school-y and I just am not great with that. No school ever, ever, ever, eeeeeeeever again. I am truly thankful for my education, but, I am just not cut out for school! Though I sure pretended to be for 18 years.  Anyway. My business plan- other than the actual numbers, it is a thing of beauty. I hope to implement it beyond conservative estimates. Unless I want to live in poverty- that's how I imagined this all to play out.  
  • I am meeting with some potential employees (Oompa Loompas!). Just so they can help out a bit- some part-time work.  And prevent the poverty. 
  • I'm badgering my web host's customer service. Speaking of which- check out the Zimt site! www.zimt.ca  It now has an online store, which I am trying to get rid of, but you can order product off of it until I do. 
  • I started this post over 24 hours ago.
  • I went to the US to pick up a coconut nectar shipment. On the way, I had a conversation, kinda one-sided, that went like this:
"Hey God- I don't want to have to fill out papers for the coconut nectar. And I don't want to pay duty fees or whatever.  But I will be totally honest to the border guards this time, and maybe that means I will have to fill out papers and wait around at customs and immigration for a while. But maybe not... eh??? "

The lady border guard didn't care that I was carting a massive thing of coconut nectar into Canada. So nice =) ! I guess somebody wanted me to bring coconut nectar to Canada with ease? I personally think there are more pressing matters, but hey. Maybe there's some sort of chain reaction- I don't know. 

Something else fun: 
I was leaving my house to go get a signature from Ricky, my friend and business mentor, for my business plan, before dropping it off at school, and heard a knock at the door. Two kids were collecting food for those who cannot afford food. They asked me for food and I said, "Sorry. I don't have any food.", which, particularly in the sense of canned goods, is true to my knowledge. And then they left.

And then I thought about how unfun it can be to go from house to house in unpleasant weather conditions, asking for things from people who should be able to give, but who often don't for a variety of reasons. 

And then I thought- "I have chocolate". And then I asked as they were walking away if they wanted some chocolate for energy. 

What a question.

So we chatted a bit and it turns out that one of the boys' family has a cocoa plantation in Trinidad. Neat! I gave him my card. I would love to go to Trinidad. =) 

Have a great Wednesday!


Monday, December 5, 2011

zing 640


This is just a quickie- but I wanted to mention some really important things wrt Zimt. They are:

  1. Whole Foods- tomorrow, which technically is today, I will be filling an order for 640 chocolate bars for the Whole Foods on Cambie. Unbelievable! They ordered 33% more than I was anticipating, so it is good I made some extra.  But how incredible- I feel super blessed to have my foot in that door. I hope they order lots, frequently, but only after I have officially hired people. 
  2. New Flavours- one is not so super new- the Chocolate 67%. I originally had made it for a friend who had ordered the Chocolate Nib'd bars in a fairly large quantity, but had said he would prefer a plain old chocolate bar. So I made him some and as I am a lot more confident about my plain chocolate making skills now, decided to offer it to the general public. It is really good, I think. But different, of course. Anyway, it has been at Greens since last Saturday. If you go to Whole Foods on Cambie tomorrow, you will find out about a brand new flavour, unless you were one of the rare taste-testers for the first batch- so good! 
  3. DemoDemo- I will be demoing for Zimt twice on Thursday. The first demo will be at Greens in the morning, and the second will be at Whole Foods on Cambie in the afternoon until eight, at which point I will pass out and probably leave a pretty bad impression for doing so in the middle of such a lovely super natural market. Come say "hello" if you get the chance!
  4. There's more- but you'll need to wait because I really have to get some sleep so I can wake up early and get things ready for a new tenant, pack stuff for the day, and go to the mall with my Oma before delivering chocolate and seeing some nice people. And working on my business plan. I really must. 
  5. There are new labels. No waiting for that news! And there will be new photos- my friend, Chris Collier (christophercollie.com) who I met while doing a photo shoot (guess modelling's good for something after all. Hahaha... kidding. It's great for lots!), took the photos, which show these new labels and the chocolate as well. Five and a half hour shoot- woah! But they're beautiful. 
Thank you for reading. Night! 


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sooooooooo muuuuuuuuuch chocolaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate...!


I'm typing from bed, taking a super quick break from working on the financials for my business plan, feeling kind of overwhelmed with ideas and lack of UPC codes.  We are meant to forecast sales and I just keep adding products because I keep thinking of neat products. There are three new ones which will be in stores soon.

Financials again. Brb.

I can't even fill in most of these numbers because I have no data- they're just concepts. I don't even have suppliers for some of the concepts. But the good thing is, that I can switch around UPC codes- for example, the Easter Bunny will not be sold at the same time of year as the Pumpkin, so the UPC code for the EB could become the UPC for the P.

Ideally, I would be shopping right now, after having cleaned up my house. Or, even more ideal- house is magically not made messy, and I am shopping.

But actually, this is great! I am not in the kitchen right now (though sometimes I think I should just move in there- bed and all. Hammock.) becauuuuuuse I was there til 2 this morning. Just getting Greens' order all done. I am going to deliver it today, not tomorrow, as I initially planned. I made over 240 chocolate bars yesterday! Some of them will be going to... Whole Foods.

On that topic- financials.

Oops- just kidding. Production Schedule (one exists now!).

Oops- just kidding, again. I need a nap.

But I'm the Greens order instead. And maybe will vacuum (?)

Lots more to post but I have to go. Sorry it was so weird. =)


Monday, November 14, 2011

Zimt: feeling centred chocolate.


Things to share-

Yoga Conference- fun! Zimt shared booth with my mum and aunt's company (they sell Canadian made products- like spelt pillows and tea blends and... misters.... and I think something else. Massage oil- there ya go. ... their website is going to come soon. I said I could help them set something up next week... hopefully they take me up on it! They also run commercial properties- quite the combo!).  Anyway, it went very, very well. People are corazy for Zimt! Almost sold out of everything and I had a lot available. I also made a lot of great contacts- both for Zimt and for me!

Some things can only be explained visually, though:


Anyway, being at the Yoga Conference led me to one contact from orderit.ca- soon you will be able to order fine chocolates with your pizza. =) 

Also at the Yoga Conference- my competition! Not yoga competition- my Passing Out on the Floor cannot be beat. Chocolate competition! The company is called Giddy YoYo- they are based out of Ontario and have some pretty neat flavours! I tried them- quite something! Very different branding from Zimt as well. Anyway, they are a much bigger company than Zimt, because they have more than 1 employee, but that's okay- people love it when I say, "I made it myself!"- "Really?! You???" "Yes, I did. This is my company." "... How old are you?!" "Not fifteen- surprise!". It goes something like that. And I get taken very seriously. But my friend and mentor, Ricky, owner of Ergogenics Nutrition, believes that this is an unsustainable approach to selling chocolate. I believe he is correct.  

Sarah's Place: Zimt is going cross- woah. I get sooooo distracted. I was last blogging at "cross" and then went and worked on a pricing sheet and e-mailed retailers and moved to the basement of my house to sit with my cat because she gets lonely and depressed since confining herself to the basement, away from housemates. And now I am back to blogging (still in the basement, though)- full circle! This is how I do things.*

Anyway. My apologies for the detour. Sarah's Place! It is a cute little boutique (cross- water on Vancouver Island) and is believed to be the smallest vegan curio on the planet. Maybe the smallest in our entire universe. Oh wow. So... when Karl came to visit, we went to Victoria and there, checked out Sarah's Place. We met the Sarah Kramer- cookbook author of well-loved works including How It All Vegan,  The Garden of Vegan, La Dolce Vegan, and Vegan A Go Go. She played an instrumental part in bringing veganism to the spotlight.  And she wants Zimt at Sarah's Place We were just chatting while I was deciding on my purchases, and... bam. I sent off 60 chocolate bars today. Though I was supposed to send them off last Wednesday- this is what happened:

  1. Quality control issues in the kitchen. I won't go into huge detail, but I had basically made everything using an ingredient I would personally eat, but in all honesty, did not feel 100% comfortable with using. So I re-made all that I had intended to make in the first place. Double the love. Don't worry- I'll eat the original stuff. What a sacrifice. Anyway, that pushed things back 1 day. 
  2. Packaging- the bane of my existence!  Guess who had only 5 Chocolate Coconut Fudge Labels but needed 10? Me! What is involved in getting 5 more printed. Its okay- I have a much better system to track label inventory now. Pfewf!
    1. Thursday: Ordering more labels for the next business day, ... Friday? No!
    2. Friday: Remembrance Day- cannot order labels. Cannot get labels printed.  That's okay- think about what the day is all about. I really cannot complain about my lack of organization manifesting itself in a shortage of labels.  Took the opportunity to bother Sabrina (thank you!!!!) to fix up the labels a bit more. I want to go take a picture of them, but I cannot, as Tiger is sitting on me. Soon!
    3. Saturday: ... helpless in the label department.
    4. Sunday: Proofs from Sabrina. Beautiful. Here is a picture of us:  
Emma & Sabrina.

    1. Monday: Today! Was expecting a delivery of labels, so I could take them to the printer to be printed. I waited really patiently until 11:23 this morning when I called them to ask where my labels were, please. "You ordered them on Friday and the next business day... Tuesday..." "...mmmm... nooooo... Thursday and... Monday...?" "So you will get them tomorrow" "I need them today. May I go pick them up from the warehouse? I really, really need them, a lot." "We don't normally do that." "I really need them. Monday, today, is technically the next business day..." "One moment please" etc.... So, me and Oma took a field trip out to Richmond where the labels live at the warehouse. We got very lost, ending up on Mitchell Island (there's a garbage dump there and a Japanese auto repair shop, among other things) and she critiqued my efficient driving the whole way there. And back. =) Okay, then, to the printer... printed labels... realized I needed to make changes to the weights of the bars. This is getting fixed.... got labels. Wrapped chocolate for 2 seconds, finished packing box, print invoice- how much is shipping?- take parcel to post- fill in shipping- forgot handling- mail parcel. Yay accomplished. 
    2. Ready to go to Sarah's Place in Victoria!

Whenever I blog, I seem to forget a great many things I wish I had remembered. ("Aren't these long enough?"- kinda!)

Other things:

  • Oma and Mom and I went for a Sunday drive out to White Rock- it was a business trip, because I needed to deliver chocolate bar samples to Choices. Fingers crossed that they like! 
  • Business Plan: This is happening. Finally. I need to do this for my course and for my peace of mind. It is a big project and will take until December 5th when it is due. 
  • Juicy Juice Bar parties! My friend, Katie Kitson, owner and operator of Juicy Juice Bar personal chef services, hosts parties to showcase her incredible talent of making really yummy food for those who may be interested in her personal chef services. She is also an avid supporter of Zimt- known to eat multiple Zimt bars for breakfast.  While at the Juicy Juice Bar party, I re-met Janice Skoreyko of the Raw Foundation. This wonderful person gave me my first taste of raw chocolate, nearly three years ago, at a raw potluck. Thank you, Janice! (A huge thank-you.)
  • Kids love Zimt, too! Leeanne, who is basically my sister, in my opinion, though takes care of me like a mom, because we both know I need that, brought over the toddler she cares for- he loves Zimt! And kale chips! 
Best nanny ever! 

Chocolate in tummy and on face (snack for later!)- life is good =) 

  • Surprise in the Works: Can you guess what all of this fun math was for? 

LOVE maths!!!!! I was so happy to work on this. Hypoteneuses! Such a big deal!

I am going to use the unacceptable chocolate to test recipes. I have a million ideas, but only 3 remaining barcodes- so many possibilities! Including buying more barcodes. ROI? 

I hope that your week is off to a good start!


*This is what I mean- a glimpse of a bit of my morning: Feeding cat while brushing my own teeth while on hold on the phone with supplier/retailer/broker while doing laundry (I am doing laundry, I mean. Maybe they are too?). I don't know- none of my housemates multi-task like that. Maybe they've chosen smart paths. Maybe they were not born into: 

image from fanboyz.net

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

irresponsible chocolatier.


Just to make things clear right off the bat for you speed-readers, "irresponsible chocolatier" is not meant to allude to the chocolate quality. I don't put anything weird in your chocolate.

Now that we have things cleared up, please allow me to update you on my life. On Zimt's life. =)

This has been a busy since I last posted, but I have been dedicating my time to some other stellar ventures some of which I will tell you about. For example- surprise visit from one of my best buddies on the planet earth- Karl! This is how it happened...

Two years ago, I went to study for a year in Germany. In the building I lived in, also lived Karl, with whom I have had the honour and pleasure of being friends.  Many good memories with Karl- it started with him helping me with technology but eventually, I ended up having the best Valentine's Day ever with him and our friend, Alicia, watching Austin Powers 2 and eating an excessive amount of vegan baked goods, and I got on a sugar high and could not sleep.  This was his second visit to Vancouver this year (I owe you a visit to Taipei, Karl!) and we had a blast! However, this was truly a surprise visit- we Skyped on Friday after not having Skyped for quite some time and, on Sunday morning before even getting out of bed, I looked at e-mails and text messages I had received while I was asleep. Anyway, I usually just look at the messages- smile or frown, depending, and then answer them at some point in the near future.  But then I saw one from Karl that said "plane ticket to Vancouver". I thought this was for March, when he originally planned on visiting, but no! It was for the very next day- Monday (to be clear).  

How does this relate to Zimt? Well- it relates in a number of ways:

1. I made very little chocolate that week.
2. We did end up making some chocolate on Saturday- Karl was my Kitchen Angel and gave his input on how to make Zimt more efficient wrt the production process. Apparently, I need to hire people who work faster than me.
3. I got away with a very flexible work schedule- just as any other unself-employed person would.  It is a tricky thing, really. On the one hand, I don't want to be a slacker, at all. And I don't think that I am- I just have a different sort of project than most and work weird hours and things. But these weird hours allow for me to make time for friends (...especially if they travel 19 hours to see me! Or not- you're all valuable!) and then cram everything in when people don't want to see me. No stress. =) This is kind of tricky, because I am blessed to know a lot of nice people.
On the other hand, I do believe, and I don't mean this to be braggy or pretentious or anything of the sort, I do believe I have worked really quite a lot for this flexibility.  I will use the summer as a recent example- worked sooooo hard! And I was a bit jealous of my 9-5ers, bless them.

Also, there has been a recent wave of vegan entrepreneurship in Vancouver and that is great, of course! I also noticed that some of these vegan entrepreneurs have gone on vacay for a bit, which is also great. This also made me think that I could stand to take a vacation... and maybe one day I will, when my nerves look like my November prediction, as illustrated below:

I think this is an inaccurate prediction, however, as the customized bags will be arriving shortly (I am down to 26!), as will the candy cup samples, cacao butter arrived today, and I... I filed my HST summary (!!!!). I am not sure if it is accurate, but it is filed.

All I need to do, in terms of packaging, is work on truffle boxes (get stoked!) and have my logo put on the bags I bought, either as stickers (less great), or as screen printing (preferable).

Anyway. This past week was kind of a vacation, even though I did make Karl run some Zimt errands with me (xiexie!). But a real-travelling-somewhere-perhaps-on-a-plane-or-train-or-cruise-ship vacation it was not. I was thinking about going to Germany and Austria and Switzerland and Scotland (why not?) to see some family and friends and drop off chocolate samples at a few veg places on that continent.  I think the ROI on such a business venture would be above industry standard, as well. But I may just stay in Vancouver. It is just really strange not to be in Europe this year at all... yet. Who knows!

Other news: I got an iPhone 4S. So relevant! The picture quality of Zimt bars etc on my site will improve by 3 megapixels. But I feel completely terrible about getting it. I feel really, really badly. So baldy, in fact, that I have not started to use it, purely because I feel guilty about the resources used to make it, not because I don't really know how. That's mostly true. But here- please read this article and write to Apple, as I did yesterday:

Apple & Congo

Are things improving anyway???  better days ahead?

Or perhaps you prefer video: Short Video

I am thinking, too- and maybe making excuses, in all honesty, that this iPhone may be a good idea for me for several reasons (not trying to justify anything, but am trying to make myself feel less horrible. This is an honest blog!).

1. My BB is a disgrace. I got it off Amazon.com, used, and... just- it was not worth $350. It is worth $130, though- my friend is buying it off of me! You will love it, Dan! .... =)
2.  Cost-Benefit Analysis. The ratio is >1, because, at least for me personally, I will be able to get a lot (a lot) more work done and will not be so frustrated with the electronics I purchase simply because I read the Social Responsibility section of HP's website and found it impressive. And then I won't get fed up and buy two sets of electronics, with only the latter set being useful. Two vs One.
3. No need to avoid buying a camera (at least a point and shoot.), nor iPod, nor other electronics- fewer electronics I probably would not have purchased anyway.
4. Angry Birds- just looks better on that screen.

I need to get going, but to close:

1. Zimt will be at The Yoga Conference in Vancouver.  Yogis heart Chocolate.
2. Whole Foods application is going well, apparently- it is quite literally out of my hands!
3. Today is World Vegan Day! Please eat something vegan for a compassionate dinner. Make sure it tastes good, so you don't get discouraged and only eat vegan dinner once this year. See happycow.net.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

irresponsible blogger.


Remember when I used to post every couple of days? The times... they are a changin'. I have been dedicating some time towards other worthy activities, but here is a Zimt update:

  • I just finished entering all of my receipts for year end. Wow- I spent a lot of money! ... its an investment. 
  • Finished and handed in Whole Foods application! Yes!  Apparently it will take a while before Zimt is on the shelves because *insert insider information here*. Well,  they have a lot to sift through.  ... I guess. But it should be in by the end of November? (I also don't know what trick-or-treators are going to do this year! =( ) 
  • There's a deal going on: Grooster-  I don't know how well this is going to do, but I do know that I made over 250 chocolate bars for it! 
  • New labels! And they look so amazing I really wish I had taken a picture for you all with my inferior BlackBerry.  There's a story behind them, of course: Sabrina, my friend who moved here from Germany and who I have heard say, not once, not twice, but maybe three or four times now: "Your chocolate is the best chocolate in the world. It just is." *slight German accent included*, designed them. They are now colour coded, have boring English names, and are very pretty. They are also now stickers, so I won't be using my eco-friendly glue anymore. (YES.) Based on a small experiment, the labels take approximately 30 seconds to apply, by hand. That's a big improvement from the eco glue ones, which, labour costs considered, should have shot the price of a bar up to about $15 a pop. =) 
  • Labels are still eco-friendly! I made sure of that when I went to get them printed. The printing guy specialist was a little apprehensive about using the eco-toner machine, but I said it would be fine. I also met a dog at the printing company named Kila (like Kilobyte, but... not exactly.). I really like it when businesses allow employee's pets/children around. Reminds me of growing up, because my grandparents allowed my mom to bring her children to the office of our family business.   
  • Big news. Sad news (?). But very important.  40% of the Zimt Artisan Chocolates 'Bar' line will be unavailable temporarily. These are the three types of Ganache (Mint, Orange, plain ol' Chocolate) and the Vanilla Caramel (I am so sorry!).  I cannot guarantee a product of consistently high quality from these lines, so I will not be offering them for the time being. I am really, really sorry, because I know that these were some of the favourites.  ... maybe buy them while they are still on shelves? I am working on sorting out the situation and bringing you these bars again, but I do not know how long that will take.
  • I love the peppermint nib bar. 
  • The Zimt 1-877 number works! I switched carriers. Please don't call it, as it costs me money, and all the information is already available online. And if you really want to hear my voice, just call my cell or speak with me in real life.
  • My prof wants to work with me on my business plan! Amazing- I am very grateful.



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I will keep my day job.


This is a bit of what the past 9 days have been like-

  • I am contracting out to have some equipment built to make the filling-making-process less ridiculous. My goal is quite simple: make more in a shorter amount of time- very common for most businesses involved in production.... but... the twist! Everything must remain hand-made. =) So I won't just be pressing a button and- bam- fillings. Not quite, no. I will keep you posted on any developments. I think I will go pick up some preliminary equipment right now, to test things out tomorrow in the kitch.
  • Going to class- this is a business class specific to small scale food and beverage production (I think.). Anyway, I love the accounting and finance bits =) My favourites. Year end is coming up fast and I am looking forward to some pretty intense Excel Parties. I know I've already learned a lot of what is being taught (way back in the day. Maybe in second year accounting.), but I take it on a completely different level now, because everything I read, I ask myself if and how it applies to Zimt. Applicable! 
  • Vancouver Eco Fashion Week- it happened! And I was fortunate enough to be a model in two shows- one was for Sofia and the other was for Anna Talbot - both very talented designers. And they both went so incredibly well- modelling is a lot easier than chocolate-company-owning sometimes. And I am sure I can incorporate Excel Parties into a modelling career, too. Anyway, this was really exciting: so, the make-up artist I was working with on the first night of the show and I got to talking and I said I would bring her a choco, as she was really interested in how Zimt is so different (...and maaaaybe just wanted chocolate?). Plus, she said she hadn't anything to eat all day, and that really made me feel badly since I had been eating chocolate all day (that is the norm, fyi- all models do that before shows.). So, I brought her a chocolate (a Peppermint Square, available at Indigo Food Cafe) and she tried it asap and was so enthusiastic about it, that she didn't even finish it before telling me that it was the best chocolate that she ever had and do I have a business card and she wants to order some for her family for Christmas. =) . That's nice! So I really do need to get proper truffle boxes made now. And the candy cup saga continues... from last year, still, yikes! 
  • 1. Ask Jordan about truffle boxes. Again.
  • 2. Find eco-friendly candy cups.
  • Also, I think I have nearly completed my Whole Foods application- hurraaaaaayfinally.
  • A store on Hastings... which sells organic products and many chocolate varieties... I have heard through the grapevine (aka- my mom mentioned Zimt to the owner- thanks, Mom =) ), really wants to get some Zimt in store. Could be great. So I will go meet him on Friday before the vegan bake sale hosted by Nice Shoes for Farm Sanctuary's annual Walk for Farm Animals, to drop off some Zimt Bites (... as the individual chocolates are now called. Copyrightcopyright.). Anyway, I suggest checking out the bake sale- it will be from 6pm until 8pm on Friday, October 14th and you can get delicious vegan baked goods there (at Nice Shoes on Fraser and 19th Avenue). Oh, and by the way.... I wore some Nice Shoes down the catwalk- check- really comfy and perfect for everyday use. Wear them as slippers around the house. =) 
  • ... I delivered more chocolate bars to Greens- go get them, they are delicious and made with love.
  • I really must leave the library and go get some kitchen equipment. Thank you for reading!


PS- Look! It is me- with fun make-up on from the first show- I realized at almost midnight that I needed to take pictures of me and the chocolate to send into the newspaper at Sauder. And then I found Photo Booth and got all distracted.  I am sure they will be proud of this recent graduate- who wouldn't be?!

Sunday, October 2, 2011




1. Dreena Burton of vivelevegan.blogspot.com was so kind as to feature me on her blog for an interview! Thank you very much, Dreena! You should definitely purchase her cookbooks as well- every recipe she has compiled is amazing- special mention to the cookies- yummmm!

2.  Earthsave Canada's Taste of Health, their annual veg lifestyle fest, is tomorrow! It is from 11:30 am until 6 pm- more info here! I have 173 chocolate bars ready for you all- including 24 Vanilla Caramel bars (apparently you love them!- thank you =) ).

3. I gave my former employer chocolate today. I walked in on their meeting and just... gave them chocolate, as is my custom. I had not told them about Zimt, but they used their spidey-senses and found out, somehow (... maybe because they saw it at Greens, I don't know.). Anyway, they ate it right then and there, because all are powerless to the chocolate (it isn't a bad thing.) and approved of it. Thank you very much. So that's that- months and months of worrying about things are all done. I don't know why I did.

4. There are also 83 small chocolates available tomorrow: Sweet Orange Nib Hearts (I had one as part of breakfast dessert- very good!), Kaffee Kubes (klassy), Peppermint Nib Squares (they are the largest of the four), Coconut Domes (I like these as well).



Monday, September 26, 2011

chocolate + china.

Hi Everybody,

Here is a quick update about Zimt, which may or may not actually end up being quick (... it is how it is.):

1. Taste of Health is coming up on Sunday, October 2nd and Zimt will be there- exciting! I just realized when it was to be held... yesterday, though, and will need to do a whole lot of work this week to get things going. I need to get a banner made... it is of bamboo. ^.^

2. Zimt chocolates were being made until about 10:30 last night and until about 10:15 tonight and administrative Zimt things were happening until the chocolates started to be made- like sorting out the banner, new labels (new designs coming up soon! And they look so phenomenal. Thank those lucky stars for talented friends who are gracious with their time.)

3. Whole Foods Market on W 8th and Cambie Street will be carrying Zimt chocolate bars very soon. I just need to fill out the application and send it in and get approved. That's all. The realistic goal is for the end of October. This seems perfect- just in time for Halloween! I'm sure lots of trick-or-treaters would be very happy to get a gourmet, raw chocolate bar instead of chemicals in colourful packaging. It will happen. 

4. I got 1.5/11 things done on my to-do list today. Wait- blog! 2.5/12. =)

I am very excited for everyone to see the new labels- they just look so amazing. 

Oh wait, I totally forgot- this is not necessarily Zimt related (not directly anyway), but please look at this video. I was volunteering for Media at my church on Sunday and this video is what was played- it is very short, just over half a minute (scroll down a bit and you will see how to view it.). What a tragedy. China is undeniably powerful, but it is a hurting nation. There are just so many problems that the government needs to address responsibly- and neither claiming vast amounts of the world's natural resources nor taking over Africa will help fix these.  I kind of see China as the class bully- beating up on everybody, and attempting to covering up a very troubled state of being. 

... okay. Guess I won't be allowed to go to China anymore now! (Good thing my agent wants to send me to Thailand @.@).

Lettuce keep the people of China and all those living in oppression in our thoughts and prayers.


PS- did you see that I changed the look of the Zimt blog? What do you think? You can PM me via FB, if you'd like. Or text me. Or... even post a reply on the blog. Double dare ya. =)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rightfully picky etc.

Hi =)

Whole Foods is meant to call me either tomorrow or Friday- I think I'll wait by the phone and practice what I'm going to say when we chat.  Shouldn't be hard- I've had so much practice. ^.^


Today I went to my business planning class and learned about different forms of business structure, such as sole proprietorship, partnerships, limited (liability) partnerships, and incorporation. But I already knew most of  what was discussed, since I had to look this all up prior to incorporating my chocolate company... about a month before I even attempted to make chocolate. Smart!

Then I made fillings for bars and ordered product and got in touch with retailers.

Something very exciting- I got eco-friendlier masking tape! This is such a big deal, because now I won't have to label storage with recycled Post-It notes. Zimt's efficiency will increase by 379%.

.... I even took a picture...

It was so exciting, I had to re-label everything in storage.

I love the kitchen I work out of because it is in a church, it is very peaceful, and the people who work there are very kind. They're so kind, in fact, that they just give me large quantities of organic fruit- 

They definitely will be getting an apple, nectarine, pear crisp.

Other, somewhat less exciting, news- year end is coming up. That means I get to hang out with Excel some more- yessss!

Important: I've been spotted. My boss from my previous place of employment found out about Zimt. Or, I found out that he found out about Zimt (chicken, or egg?). Anyway, I think I will have to bring them some chocos, if for no other reason than that I really just like giving people chocolate, and it seems somehow appropriate. "Surpriiiiiise! Look what my night-job was!" (starting Zimt- that was my night job. ...?)

I did an interview with the newspaper of the business school I just graduated from. It was really fun and interesting to see how perspectives change so much. I think that they liked one thing I said, in particular (and I just made it up on the spot!): Don't go by the book, go by the second. (Copyright 2011 Emma Smith of Zimt Artisan Chocolates Limited. Haha.). Sometimes they asked me questions that reminded me of what someone might find at the end of a textbook chapter, to prep for a midterm.

Speaking of people speaking of me, I'm doing another interview with chef and vegan cookie expert, Dreena Burton, and it will be on her blog, vivelevegan.blogspot.com. I just need to make sure I will be able to answer the question as to whether or not customers can buy directly from me (ie. online store, in this case) in the affirmative.

The kids liked the chocolate at their school fundraiser =) Yay!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

It's all happening. (!!!!!!!!!)


So Whole Foods likes Zimt!!!!!!

And I will be selling chocolates at the Star of the Sea Fall Fair tomorrow.


More updates to come! (aaaaaand more chocolate!)


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Whole-y Guacamole!

Hi Everyone,

... it seems the time has come. The day has arrived, this day I thought would have... taken a lot longer to arrive is nearly upon Zimt.

Tomorrow, I am going to Whole Foods on Cambie and Broadway with a bag full of Zimt bars. Whole Foods- I know! Last week when I was there, my friend, Doran, who works there, was saying that I should really sell my chocolate there. And I expressed my concerns in my not being able to keep up with the demand I anticipate will come with selling at Whole Foods. He assured me that Whole Foods takes the production limitations of small producers into account- it sounds not so scary. So off I go... big prayers.

Other exciting Zimt news! Zimt chocolate bars as well as individually sized, solid chocolates will be available from now on at Indigo Food Cafe! This is an excellent place to get some truly scrumptious food (... not just Zimt- Lovena, the owner and operator, has incredibly delicious creations to share. Get anything with the tzatziki. Oh. My. Goodness. Get it on the granola, get it on the crepe, get it on anything!). Anyway. Back to the chocolate! (Get it on the chocolate. Ha.). There are three flavours available: Kaffee Squares, Coconut Domes, and Sweet Orange Nib Hearts. A nice little treat.

Here is a picture of the Kaffee Squares I just took with my Blackberry (which has 4 available pictures left, just so you know.):

Is it just me, or do these remind you of Adventskalender? I think they are called "Advent Calenders" in English- the ones where you open up a window in a calendar for the first 24 days of December as a countdown to Christmas. I really enjoyed those up until I could not actually partake as I could not find a vegan version on the market. But I love these sqaures and now I can make my own chocolate countdown to Christmas (life has improved substantially.).

What else... I did a demo at Greens the other day- it went really well. I was feeling completely exhausted and did not want to do any work, especially not smiling at people and making conversation for hours, before I went. But when I got there, it was really nice. So many people were not only intrigued, but really enthusiastic- really enthusiastic. Zimt apparently has a little fan club going! This was great to see- I'm so happy to be bringing something nice to people who appreciate it.

On Saturday, I will be out in White Rock at the Star of the Sea Fall Fair and Market Place- I am interested to see what will come of it! Hopefully I will be able to get some chocolate to people who normally cannot eat chocolate, for whatever reason.

And finally, I am going to school again. I also did not see that one coming, but there I go- back to UBC for one course in Small Business Food and Beverage Manufacturing. I think it will be very, very useful, and so I will sacrifice Wednesday and Friday mornings until December to attend- and I'm very thankful for the opportunity for that sacrifice!

Enjoy the rest of the week =)


Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's been a little while.


I kept intending to blog, but my computer sounds like it is going to combust each time I start it up and everything works very slowly (or... sometimes not at all...), so I've been avoiding it a bit.

Here is an update:

1. My mom got married- everyone liked the truffles. (*pfewf!*)
2. My lovely new friend from Germany, Sabrina, has so kindly offered to help me reformat the labels for the bars. This needs to be done, because, as I mentioned a while back, the names are confusing to those who speak neither Spanish nor German. So we're going to make some nice, non-confusing English named bars. Stay tuned- and vielen Dank, Sabrina!!!
3. I had way, waaay too much vegan cake at her wedding, woke up at 3 am the next morning, realized I had forgotten to feed the neighbours' fish, couldn't sleep, cleaned up the house before my new room mate came to view it at 10:30 that morning, wandered over to the neighbours' to feed the fish (at this point, about 4:30 am), didn't want to go back to my house, so I went for a refreshing walk, got really thirsty, went home, didn't want to be at home, went for another walk (and made it almost an entire block), got really tired all of a sudden, turned around, walked home, passed out for 3 hours, until my alarm went, was still too tired to get up, one more hour, decided that I couldn't stay in bed any longer, got up, cleaned the house, showed the place to Rena, and realized that nothing in point 3. has anything to do with Zimt.

But it does! Because as I was leaving to go feed the fish, I realized that there was something very wrong with one of my base ingredients. But it was about 4:30 am, and there was not much I could do about it at that point, so I didn't freak out, but just felt a little overwhelmed instead.

This quality issue is worrying me now, though. I've spoken with my supplier about it, who has spoken with the manufacturer, who cannot believe that the process ever worked as I've done- but it has, and I've even taken it in for testing- so I think that this was just a terrible fluke of a batch. And I've had to toss about $80 worth of product so far. And have taken a lot more in for testing, changed recipes around... and will have to wait and see.

The only thing is, I am anticipating another large order this week. But what if I do not have this key ingredient?  The alternative simply does not work for some of my recipes. I will know better this week- until then, supply of certain varieties may be limited. And I am really, really sorry for this.  I wish it were a better situation, but this is still a very new process.

My goal is still to provide people with ethical, delicious products and that's precisely what I am going to do- but perhaps at a reduced variety for a little while.

Enjoy your Sunday =)


Friday, August 26, 2011

Lull... aby.

Hi =)

I unfortunately haven't a whole lot to report on in the world of Zimt. Except for the following important things:

  • the vote to scrap the HST and go back to the old PST and GST system of taxation in BC has been approved- so... at least there will be less tax on Zimt chocolate. Eventually. 
  • I have found eco-friendly shipping materials! This means that I will be able to ship Zimt Artisan Chocolates products world wide on a regular basis, very soon. I just need to order the special envelopes, pick them up, and... voila!
  • Greens was happy with how sales have been going- but really nice people work there, so maybe this is a less accurate representation of financial reality than what I need. ... I am happy that they are happy. 
  • My friend, Katie Kitson of Juicy Juice Bar had another open-house, where I brought many chocolate bars. She is having another one tonight and you should attend! I would, except it is my mum's wedding rehearsal dinner tonight and, as I'm the maid of honour, I should probably attend that. She will make you fantastic food, which you can order all week round. It is a particularly convenient and healthy option for those working in downtown Vancouver, BC. 
  • I made 120 truffles for the vegan couple's wedding- they are so, so nice. The couple, I mean. The truffles are nice as well! 
  • I made 107 truffles for my mum's wedding (which is tomorrow (!!!)), and as we only need 96... I also enjoyed a good amount of truffles yesterday with my friend Joelle. 
  • Joelle and her cousin and his girlfriend visited the kitchen yesterday- her cousin is interested in also starting his own business one day, though he wants to work for another company first. This is usually how it goes... but I was a little desperate, didn't know where to work, and, since chocolate is the answer 98% of the time, decided to just jump in. 

More about that topic- one thing I find difficult about starting a business fresh off the bat (other than... hm, everything) is seeing what my peers are up to, and how they are gaining more immediate financial rewards for their work.  Many of them have moved out of their homes ("Thanks for feeding me all these years, Mom and Dad, but now I can buy my own groceries and figure out how to pay rent with this fatty cheque I get each month."- kidding...) and are putting their degrees to good use. They do get a lot of "mentoring", I hear. This is because you don't really learn how to work in a company at business school. This skill is learned on the job. But there's some security, isn't there? It is like you are still in school- you get to keep learning, and you also get paid. The learning is also more practical. I often question why I got this business degree- not that I am not thankful for it. Having "BCom" behind my name must be good for something (credibility, perhaps). Or, it would be, but I keep forgetting to put that on my business cards when I have them printed. Round three will be different.  

There are still a million things to do- most of which I am probably not aware of. And I am thankful for this bit of a break, to read up on investing, pursue a bit more modelling, help out with the wedding, see some friends, and even sleep!

Enjoy the sunshine and pick some blackberries =)


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cheaper Chocolate?


I really must keep this quick (I solemnly promise that). Here are some things going on in the land of Zimt:

Little kitchen work: While this is quite a nice change in one respect, it also represents a lack of orders- not so good. The issue seems to be that people are not wanting to pay over $5 for a little bar of chocolate, which I can understand.  But I was skyping with Karl yesterday, and he started calculating on the spot how many bars I would be selling per hour, and said that this was a good number. ... I am not so sure, as impressive as the calculations were.  So, I think I will have to redo my pricing quite a bit- because, quite frankly, despite these bars being made, by hand, in micro batches, from some of the best ingredients in the world, people are only willing to pay so much! I hope that they sell out quickly so I can get another order in with a new price list.

To Ship or Not: The real thing is getting the eco-friendly shipping materials (at first, and I have located these- ... they are expensive), and then, being able to keep up with that demand (second). I have not approached bigger retail locations, and I am trying to sort out if it will be too much demand to keep up with, should they hop on board, in addition to shipping worldwide, via my website.  I think I should do the online shipping first, see what the demand is (who knows- maybe that will be plenty. I mean, I've tried raw chocolate from many places and.... well... not to brag... =) ) and go from there.

Other than that, I've been feeling a little lazy, from the lack of kitchen work. I did update the Zimt website, though- check out the yummy bar pics! (Taken by yours truly's blackberry =) ).

Also! I am going to be re-doing the labels to include (primarily) English names for the bars- I believe people were getting confused. My friend, Sabrina, has also kindly offered to help me do some illustrations, to make the variety of bar a bit more recognizable. (Dankeschön, Sabrina!!!)

Here's a question (and it is a very risky one I should probably not be putting on my blog, but there you go- I am. And I can remove it if I really think necessary.): How much would you, realistically, be willing to pay for a Zimt chocolate bar? (Realistically. And "Can I pay in hugs?" is not an option, no. Sorry!) I know how much they can realistically cost- do we meet on that?



Sunday, August 14, 2011

2 weddings and a Tweet

Hi =)

I'm in the process of making my Twitter account more... active. I knew I had reserved @zimtchocolates months ago, but Twitter seemed like a bit of a fad and just one more thing to worry about. And indeed it will be one more thing to worry about, but all the cool kids are doing it!

@zimt was already taken (I think I've found the creator and messaged him via FB) and @zimtartisanchocolates is too long.

Anyway- an update since... Thursday, I think.

Thursday I was running all over the city in the morning- first to Nice Shoes to replenish stock, then to Greens to make a brief appearance at their promo day, and then....  in the kitchen, dutifully making chocolate. Unfortunately, the chocolate didn't really turn out... the nectar wasn't properly mixed into the rest of it, and kid of separated, leaving the chocolate looking dewy. Nice for grass, not so nice for chocolate. But I really like learning how the chocolate behaves- I notice new aspects every time I really look.
Anyway... I think I fixed it. I met with a vegan couple, who wanted some truffles for their wedding. Normally, I'd not do truffles, but... they're a very kind couple and deserve nice vegan things at their wedding- and I am honoured that they chose my truffles to be these nice vegan things! Their wedding is the same day as my mom's. That's many truffles, and I had actualyl wanted to move away from doing truffles, as the bars take up enough time as is, and, wow, the truffles are so time intensive. But they (the couples) are worth it. .... may be the last time I do the truffle thing, though! (For now, of course!)

Then it was back to the kitchen for a good long while... and then biking home. It is a lovely bike ride home.

But not so lovely, that it deterred me entirely from having a pity party at who knows when. I think it involved me trying not to pass out in front of my computer, and whining about how being a trophy wife would've been a lot easier.

Then, I realized something. Or, I became more actively aware of something- I know it in the back of my head, but sometimes, when I get caught up in the sheer volume of things that need to be done, the many little things cloud the bigger picture. Anyway, I said to myself, "Emma- do you really want to be in the same place you are now this time next year? Because if you just whine about things, that's what's going to happen. So stop whining, take responsibility for what you started, and get the job done.". So that's what I did. I kind of went into machine-mode and just.... worked. A lot. Nothing complicated- after working so much during the day, my brain only has so much energy left. But I got lots done- and I'm happy I did. Because this time next year, I don't want to be in the same place I am now. As much as I love learning about business at such a grass-roots level, the rate at which I'm going now is totally unsustainable. It just makes no sense and cannot be done- I actually would not make it.

So that's why I've got to be smart about things, plan better, and seriously start thinking about hiring an oompa loompa.

Friday... which was... wow, only yesterday, alright, Friday was busy. I thought I had an order for 200 chocolate bars, but it ended up being only 100 (which I found out after melting a whole lot of cacao butter... hm.). Anyway, I still made I'm not even sure how many bars, then went to package them. ... did that for a long time. Wandered over part-way to wherever there was a clock, noticed the time and thought, "Wow- this is taking a lot longer than expected." and then wandered back to finish up.

Saturday... aka, today... I went for a walk with my mom. I just had to- she basically had to peel me out of bed, but it happened! And then I vacuumed my house (another great incentive to making a real financial living... outsourcing house-work. Please....), got ready to head out to Karmavore and drop off a donation at the church.  I sampled chocolate (as in, I provided others with samples) today at Karmavore for about 4 hours. It was nice! Everyone who works there is really kind and people loved the chocolate, and were quite surpirsed of it's healthy-ness.

After Karmavore, I drove to the Animal Voices and Earthsave potluck, to donate more chocolate as a raffle prize- it was lovely. There's a real community and it's great to see people I've known for years.

Stopped in to say hello to my friend, Nazlee (finally- I've only been saying I'd do that for... months.) and now I am here. Sorting out Twitter...

I think that all of this social media and cyber-presence can be a great thing for business- it really allows a connection between businesses and their customers and other supporters. ... but man is it time consuming! (Not that you all aren't worth it =) ).

Off to Tweet...


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pent up demand.

Hi Everyone,

I'm going to keep this one short (... really. I'm serious this time.), as I've got to make a chocolate delivery/ ultimate frisbee appearance/ break from re-writing my website content to comply with CFIA standards.

Here's an update:

Apparently, the chocolates are doing very well. I went into Greens on Monday night with my friend Mia and had a nice chat with a cashier who was so happy to have a healthy, raw chocolate in store- she said it provided a great opportunity to spread the word on the benefits of raw cacao and other super foods (which, I am not allowed to mention about on my website, because it is not allowed by the CFIA and they threatened that my chocolates would be taken off of store shelves if I did not change the content to adhere to their standards.). Question: Why is it that foods that are legitimately unhealthy (I'm thinking dairy yogurts, dairy cheese (that is mostly plastic...) and cholesterol-laden, battery-cage eggs) are allowed to be toted as being healthy, and raw chocolate made my yours truly is not? Answer: My product does not stimulate the economy as much as dairy, eggs, and meat. Woops. Oh it is unfortunately quite bureaucratic, so much so, that getting really quality, essential information out there is nearly impossible- at least via written means. 

When does this infringe upon free-speech, I wonder? People can say whatever they like- I think that it is also partially the consumer's responsibility to learn about what products they are purchasing.  After all, people want to be informed about where their money is going, and what it is doing for them.  There's the time issue... of course. These regulations are put in place to, apparently, shield consumers from being misled. Maybe misleading others does not count if you are a large, subsidized industry.

So might I exercise my right to free... type by stating:

Zimt Artisan Chocolates specializes in hand-made, micro-batch chocolate that is made of fair-trade, organic, raw ingredients and are suitable for those following a vegan diet and those with diabetes.  The ingredients and final product are dairy-free,  gluten-free, soy-free, and low-glycemic.  The chocolate bars are also delicious, and children, surprisingly enough, are very fond of them, despite their high cacao (and anti-oxidant) content.

... please don't e-mail me anymore, CFIA! I'm really not trying to push any buttons but I mean, are there not greater battles out there to fight? Pick them wisely, I suggest.

In other news...

I gave my grandma chocolate for her birthday, which was yesterday. My little cousin thought it was her birthday, apparently, and kind of went to town on the present. She's 18. Haha. (My cousin is. My grandma turned 76 and doesn't look a day over 60. It's all that good raw cacao- and maybe a life of luxury.)

My friend, Vanessa, and I took a trip down to Seattle today where I picked up some more specialty coffee for the Kaffee bar. I'm looking to find a comparable variety that is local, though. A bit tricky... this one is really, really good.

Local cookbook author, and culinary guru, Dreena Burton of http://vivelevegan.blogspot.com/ and some rather amazing cook books, including Vive le Vegan, The Everyday Vegan, and Eat Drink and Be Vegan, is going to be featuring me on her blog! What an honour! Vanessa and I dropped off a few chocolate bars for her to try. ... hope she likes them. I met her a few years ago while volunteering at Earthsave's Taste of Health event- she was demoing how to make some of her famous cookies- they're just beyond delicious.

... that was a bit shorter.

Enjoy your Thursday =)


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vancouver- I give you very special chocolate!

Hi Everyone =)

It is official- those infamous Zimt chocolate bars are on the loose!

After getting to the kitchen this morning, to make two bars of Chocolate Coconut Fudge I realized had been missing at about midnight, I headed over to Greens (of Greens Natural and Organic Market) to drop off 220 chocolate bars.

They're not particularly voluminousness, but... in numbers like that, even a small box is pretty heavy.

Anyway, there are 36 (not 34...) Chocolate Coconut Fudge, 36 Coconut Crisp, 36 Süß Orange Nib, 36 Naranja Rica, 36 Meine Minze, and 36 Vanilla Caramel bars within Greens' possession right now! All they have to do, apparently, is enter the UPC codes into the system.

I should send them the file I have of them to make the job easier.

For all my fellow mathletes out there, you may have totaled only 216 chocolate bars.... and you would be right! But don't forget about those 4 prize ones- buy a lot of Meine Minzes for a chance to win some more bars.

And, Nice Shoes also has a few bars- get them while you can, is all I can say. Those coffee ones won't last. I mean, if you buy one, try a bite, and like it even half as much as I do, well, that's just game over- I might as well thank you for your life-savings right now. ... kidding. =)

My friend Lois is visiting for England, and before she took off for a visit to Vancouver Island yesterday, she helped me with a chocolate photoshoot. It was great! (Best part? Getting to eat the models =) ).

It was sort of an evolution....

The first images looked like this:

Which made us think of this: 

Hmmmm... perhaps we could do a bit better than that!

So with my now fully-functioning, thanks to Karl, BlackBerry (which my Dad bought for me used on Amazon- avoiding new electronics is a good idea, because the components they are made of are so environmentally destructive... just be careful where/who you buy from!), we came up with these (not yet edited!):

A step up, no?

This is probably a good opportunity to address some questions that may have come up just while looking at these photos, such as:

1. Why does the chocolate look a bit white on the surface?
2. Why don't you use an actual camera to take photos of your product? Even a point-and-shoot is better than a 5mp BlackBerry, Emma.


1. Great question! White can appear on chocolate for a number of reasons, and on my chocolate for one more reason than those. Basically, white-ness on the surface of the chocolate can indicate that the chocolate is "blooming"- this is nothing bad at all and the chocolate can still be not only consumed, but also enjoyed. Blooming does not affect the taste of the chocolate- it just means that the cocoa butter has separated from the rest of the chocolate. It's still good- no worries! Blooming can occur due to changes in temperature and can also appear as white circles on the chocolate surface. Water coming into contact with chocolate can also cause blooming, and can even damage the chocolate, causing it to seize.

On this chocolate, though, the whiteness is actually from coconut oil. It made its way through the chocolate from the ganache centre and ended up at the surface. I added too much coconut oil in that ganache recipe and thought it would still be okay. And it is- but it just looks a tad funny. (Still tastes really good, though, don't worry.)

2. I used to have such a camera! My mom got it for me for my 18th birthday using AirMiles. It kind of gave up on me while I was backpacking/couchsurfing/woofing through Europe last summer, which serves me right as I took a billion pictures probably fell asleep on it a few times in overnight trains/ferries/buses/planes.

So there you have it- feel updated!