Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Socola...an overall fave from the SF Chocolate Salon


just when i thought things couldn't get nuttier, i get a call from the boss this morning to let me know about a project for the german team that has arrived and will need to be completed by 1am monday pacific (i.e., 8am in the UK). the silver lining in this whole thing is that it means that i won't have to be on a plane to ATL on sunday....which is something i'm not exactly disappointed about. never a dull moment in this job. not at all. yet, i wanted to take a break/moment to blog about the sf chocolate salon....specifically about socola chocolatier.

i was a lot more judicious at this year's sf chocolate salon when it came to tastings....i wanted to avoid the chocolate hangover i had last year. while i was wandering around the pretty crowded venue, i must admit that i was drawn to the socola chocolatier table because of their well-done display, boutique packaging, and because i didn't recognize the name.

once i arrived at the table, the first sample i saw was "vietnamese coffee"....

i instantly thought "OMG, that is perfect. why didn't someone think of that before? i bet these folks are from the bay area." naturally, the vietnamese coffee flavor was the first sample i tried and it was supremely lovely. the chicory coffee flavor is a natural complement to the chocolate. while i was standing there nibbling on the vietnamese coffee and

guinness samples, i noticed there was a genuine level of enthusiasm of the socola folks at the table. they didn't seem jaded or disaffected by the whole "booth duty" experience at all. in general, i found all of the vendors at the sf chocolate salon to be extremely patient and gracious when dealing with the crowds...i could tell that the crowds were wearing many of them down by 1pm. yet, there was something infectious and charming about the enthusiasm of these socola folks that stood out in my mind. it appeared that they were energized from the crowd....it made me wonder if they were new to this....or maybe that they really loved what they were doing. i love watching people that are passionate about what they are doing.

as i left the sf chocolate salon, i remember thinking that the socola folks had this great balance of product, packaging, and passion. yeah, i know....this is such a "business" way at looking at it. i may adore and be passionate about food...but i do spend about 12+ hours a day thinking about strategy, positioning, branding, etc...so i can appreciate the balance when i see it. it was because of this balance that i had the best overall sf chocolate salon experience at socola.

if you are interested in finding them, it looks like you can pick up socola chocolates at the SOMA Whole Foods in the city, Daily Delectables on Grand in Lake Merritt, or at their web site. i hope to see them at more stores in the future.

UPDATE: i received a note from the graphic designer of the socola packaging....if you are interested in taking a look at her stuff, she can be found here.


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