“What do you say to slow chocolate?” I asked Kelechi the other night. “It certainly takes us long enough to make it!”
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about Alice Waters before we saw her in conversation this past Monday evening at BAM. I’d heard of Chez Panisse and of course was familiar with the concept of slow food. But listening to Waters speak felt familiar - parallel almost to Kelechi and my quest.
No, we’re no Alice Waters, we’d never pretend to be. But her message rang true: grown healthy nutritious food, cook with purpose and eat with intention, preferably around those you love.
Since starting our journey, Kelechi and I have thought a lot about the purpose of our chocolate - specifically about what makes us different and what sets us apart. In the past year we’ve also thought a lot about community (especially since last Nov. 7th), what attracts people to one another, brings them together and ultimately keeps them whole.
Still, after hosting a few events and people loving our story, we still struggled against labeling ourselves by it. Our friend Jillian dubbed us the “lesbian love chocolate”, we laughed about it but quickly dismissed it, not wanting to be known purely for our love story and sexual orientation. But the further we debated between the two of us, the more events we hosted and co-hosted, the more we realized that our story was what made us difference and we should embrace it. Embracing love and our tendency to engage our community didn’t diminish our craft as chocolate makers or our entrepreneurial prowess, it just made us different and unique. As a lesbian couple, we’re no strangers to this. Ultimately, sometimes the easiest answer is the one closest to home.
Seeing Alice Waters in person on Monday, drove home to us that conceiving of a business through love or a shared passion in your community is no fault. Instead, it’s an incredible asset. To pull from the different skills and talents of those around, while caring and nurturing those relationships, is ultimately what allows a business to prosper and grow.
We’re still in the early stages of determining exactly what a business birthed and shaped with love and community in mind will completely look like, but we have big ideas and a lofty goal. We’ll move forward and continue to host events, aiming to bring people of all backgrounds and experiences together. Just as sharing a meal of matzo ball soup for myself as a child or a bowl of jollof rice for Kelechi, brought us together and closer with family and friends, so too do we aim to do with chocolate.
As Kelechi and I like to say, chocolate has the power to encourage love and ignite passion. When we wrote these words for the back of our box, we didn’t intend them solely as words of romance. Passion and love exist equally (if not sometimes more) in platonic relationships and communities. In the end, we want to teach a broader community about fair trade chocolate, what it means, and introduce them to its sites, sounds, and ultimately its tastes. We want a bar of our chocolate to be the beginning of a conversation, relationship or community - urging a group of people to sit down over a shared passion (chocolate or not) and appreciate a single experience.