We’re still a bit backlogged but with Maya on our side, that shouldn’t last too long!
We’re still a bit backlogged but with Maya on our side, that shouldn’t last too long!
I hope you’re all thinking about turkey and pumpkin pie as this week winds down. But, when the festivities end, we have another reason to celebrate! We’ll be next door with our neighbors at Mission Cheese on the night of November 26th, pairing chocolate, cheese, and wine from Sutton Cellars. You’ll each be able to play and discover your favorite combinations, while we share some of our own picks. It promises to be a delicious night and we hope you’ll join us!
Here’s the event information: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/296794. The Night Cheese tasting will take place on Monday, November 26th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at Mission Cheese, 736 Valencia Street.
Back in June, Alice and I led a workshop called “Chock-full O’ Chocolate” at our friendly neighborhood pirate supply store, also known as 826 Valencia. Founded ten years ago in San Francisco, 826 Valencia offers a variety of free programs for primary and secondary school students to support their writing skills, foster creativity and inspire confidence through writing and the literary arts.
We met a group of really great, talented students (all between the ages 12-15) who came to learn about chocolate, the chocolate-making process, and to further hone their creative writing skills. By the end of the four-week session, each student had produced numerous short stories, poems, and drawings inspired by chocolate. They personally selected their best pieces, which were published in a chapbook entitled If I Were A Wizard Chocolatier.
We’re thrilled to announce that this chapbook can now be found at our chocolate factory as well as 826 Valencia! To commemorate this super-special collaboration with our neighbors, If I Were A Wizard Chocolatier comes with its own limited-edition chocolate bar, developed especially for 826. It’s called the High Seas bar, complete with sea salt and an intriguing back-story. In honor of the partnership, we’ve made a total of 826 bars.
You can pick up both as a bundle at our space; alternatively, you can purchase the chapbook at 826 Valencia’s Pirate Supply Store, where you’ll also receive a golden ticket that can be redeemed for the accompanying High Seas bar at our location one block away.
María and Lauren, two of the fantastic designers at 826, are responsible for creating the look of the chapbook, as well as the packaging for the High Seas bar. They did an absolutely amazing job, and we can’t wait for you to dive right in and enjoy both!
A portion of the proceeds from If I Were A Wizard Chocolatier and the High Seas bar will go to 826 Valencia, so they can continue to fund free student programming for elementary-, middle- and high-schoolers. We had a great time working with everyone at 826, and especially with our workshop participants: Nathan, Miriam, Cecily, Janelle, Bryan, Troy, Anja, Zora, Anthony, Alexis and Myles.
Now that our factory and retail space on Valencia is open to the public, please feel free to stop by and thumb through the chapbook: maybe it’ll inspire you to pen a paean to chocolate as well!
We opened the factory and retail part of our Valencia St location for the first time today! While we had few hiccups, overall, things when great. Everyone we met was wonderful and we had a great time talking to people about chocolate and showing them our space.
Special thanks to Brian for manning the front of the house and taking great care of everyone!
Tomorrow is a big day for us — we are finally opening our doors to the public! It’s been a long time coming since we first saw Ron, our landlord, two years ago in the auto repair garage. We’re busy getting the final touches on our retail shelves and putting more batches in the melangers.
This is a limited opening, meaning we will have short hours for the near future. The factory will be running and we will have some new additions to our retail shelves including collaborations with local chocolatiers and limited-edition batches like one made with beans from the La Red Co-op.
The cafe will not be opening for at least a few more weeks — we are nailing down how to make the best hot chocolates, brownies, and cookies. But, if you stop by, you may be pressed into service as a taste tester for some of our experiments!
Come visit us:
Wed – Fri: 12pm – 4pm
Saturday: 11am – 6pm
It took a little longer than we’d original planned… ok, a lot longer, but we’ve finally moved in to our permanent home at 740 Valencia St! After doing a bunch of planning, we started packing and moving things on Thursday of last week. We took a bunch of the our semi-portable equipment (melangers, temperers) in the first load:
All loaded up
After that, we packed up a bunch of boxes with all of the stuff we needed and loaded them into the truck:
Caitlin wrangling the pallet jack. Where were they in college?
Tyler and Joey unloading
Me about to drive the truck back to Dogpatch after dropping off a load at Valencia
The real challenge was moving our 2000lb wrapping machine from 1955 as it doesn’t really fit out of the door at the Dogpatch and we weren’t sure if it’d fit past our counters at Valencia. Fortunately, we had amazing help from Snooky and his team (Vic, Mark, and Sean). Snooky and Vic managed to wrangle the machine into the Dogpatch so they were the perfect set of people to help us get it to Valencia:
Snooky, grinning and planning his attack
Just squeaking out the door
We certainly weren’t gonna lift it by hand…
But that didn’t stop us from pretending we were :)
We had about a 1/4 inch to spare on each side!
Wrapping machine in its new home
After moving everything over, we still needed clean things up at the Dogpatch space and set everything up at Valencia.
Todd and Maya setting up tables
Tyler, Chiann, and Maya on the roof ladder
Tod and Lisa did an amazing job giving the Dogpatch space a much needed scrub down and Erica and Lisa (what a champ!) were hugely helpful in getting things set up at Valencia over the weekend. By Sunday, our new space was ready:
(Photo credit: Molly DeCoudreaux)
It’s hard to imagine the move having gone any smoother than it did; thank you so much to everyone who made it happen!
Those of you walking by Valencia street last week may have gotten a sneak peek into our space. We took down the window coverings for a few days while the storefront was being installed. If you popped your head in, you may have noticed — the construction is done!
We’ve gotten the final hand off and our construction team is moving on to new projects. We still have a few odds and ends (putting up our sign, small touchups, sound system, etc) and a few more inspections that need the final sign off. After that, we still have a lot to do — some of our machines are not quite ready for the new space and we are still figuring out our new roaster:
We’re also purchasing our furniture, setting up the cafe, and hiring a few more team members. We hope to get the chocolate production running in the new space in the next few weeks and open the cafe sometime (hopefully) shortly after.
I should also mention that we had the most amazing construction crew — George, Ed, and team at Pacific Construction were awesome. We’ve heard that with most construction projects, you know you are halfway done when you’ve run out of money. These guys were on time, under budget, and got all of the details right. They worked extra hours to fix problems that they weren’t responsible for and when curveballs came up that caused delays (e.g. health department) they split the difference or incurred the cost themselves. If you are building something in the bay area, I would highly recommend that you give them a call. Here are George and Ed posing with our new roaster:
I hope you’ve seen the updates and know that our space on Valencia is looking beautiful! We still have so much work to do, but we met at our new space this morning and I couldn’t be more excited.
There are lots of preparations to be done before we open and I know there will be plenty of late nights. But, one of the things we need most is a pastry chef. We need someone to whip our pastry kitchen into shape. We’ve gathered ideas for our cafe offerings over the past few months and even had a decadent chocolate breakfast as a trial run. But, we need an experienced pastry chef to lead the way. I’ve listed the full job description below. If you’re interested, we’d like to see your resume and a short draft of a proposed menu. The menu need only be your first thoughts.
We’ll hire for other positions in a few weeks, but we need to focus our efforts on a pastry chef at the moment. When we have other positions available, I’ll put them up on our blog as well!
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve got a few fun events coming up pretty soon:
First, we will be at the Eat Real Festival this Friday – Sunday at Jack London Square in Oakland. Our booth will be at the Craft Marketplace and we’ll be doing a chocolate-making overview on Saturday. Lots of our food vendor friends will be there too. Check it out here.
And the weekend after (September 29th and 30th), Cam, Alice, and Lisa will be up in Seattle for Northwest Chocolate Festival. They’ll also be visiting our friends at Chocolopolis for a Meet the Maker tasting on Friday 9/28 from 2:30 – 4:30.
Here’s a video from last year’s festival, see if you can catch a quick glimpse of Cam: