Sunday, January 06, 2008

Time to get crackin'

Lately I've been thinking a lot about dreams and what I'd really enjoy doing with my life. I think I want to be a chocolate maker. Or a baker. Or both. I've got two things in store that I'm planning to do. First, for a charity event the musicians in the symphony are putting together, I'm going to auction off 100 hand made chocolates for the silent auction portion of the fund raiser. I had a heck of a lot of fun working on the chocolates I made for Christmas, and some of them were really darn tasty. The Irish cream dipped chocolate is something I really think people would pay money for. I'll bring about 100 or so samples to the charity auction, and make sure they're perfect, which is the kind of obsessive work that I really enjoy doing. As to the auction, you never know who might try my chocolates and urge me on, you know? What I'll do is offer 100 chocolates, with four different flavors or varieties to be determined with the winner of the auction. I've become convinced that if I were given a flavor of a chocolate to make, I could make it, and it'd be pretty darn tasty after a few tries. I think chocolate is very forgiving, just so long as you follow the basic guidelines. And for me it's really, really fun.

This is the other thing on my mind: take a year or two experimenting with different styles and flavors, and then take a new variety to work each week for all of my colleagues to try. I'd probably even make little cards with questions for them to answer and bring those little golf pencils along. Here would be the deal: you can have a chocolate if you answer the questions, honestly. Final question would always be this: would you buy this chocolate, if you had a choice? Talk about market research! Musicians have a very discriminating palette and are harsh critics. If they were impressed, and I had a lineup of about 20 different kinds of chocolates, I'd be ready to go into business. And I'm already thinking of a boatload of fun flavor combinations, some I've never heard of before. That's the fun part!

The other thing I want to do this summer is put up a stall at the farmer's market. I've tried the pies and pastries you can buy at the farmer's market and they're really pretty mediocre. As they say, there's always room at the top, right? I'd sell mini pies and regular sized pies, probably in the following flavors: mom's cherry, brandied cherry/pear, blueberry, and three berry. Those can all be made ahead of time and frozen, then just baked the day before the market. Hopefully this summer I'll have two ovens in the house, if my kitchen remodel gets done when I want it, though I may just buy the new oven even if the kitchen isn't finished. I'd also sell some of my mint chocolate cookies, along with a variety of cupcakes or cakes and some other cookies, as well as some brownies. I'd have samples out there for everyone, and of course make sure that my stall was the nicest looking stall in the market, with cool looking signs talking about each of the products. Start relatively simple, but I think it wouldn't take very long to develop a very loyal clientele. My goal would be to be the talk of the market, which I think is what you need to do in anything you plan to succeed at. And man, I get fired up thinking about the idea!

I've been circling around the idea of doing something in the food business for years. I'm tired of circling, and I've developed enough skills that I think it's time to test the waters.

Full steam ahead!


Sherry C said...

Do it.

And one of these days, I'm going to get to sample all of this.

Note to self: Must find a way to get back to MI again soon.

ali said...

these are all great ideas. the farmer's market is an excellent place to start selling. i can see this really becoming something for you. i got really excited just reading this post.

Dan said...

Thanks for the encouragement! And whenever either of you make it back to Michigan, samples all around!