Talk About Chocolate with the King Family
By Kimberly Boney
Come On, Get HappyFebruary 2015
By Kimberly Boney
Photos: Betsy Erickson
The words "chocolate” and "delicious" have long been synonymous. One taste of the endorphin-filled dessert is sure to create an overwhelming feeling of happiness. But for Catherine King, chocolate represents much more than just the momentary feeling of bliss created by the feel-good food. It’s about building community. And she and her family are using chocolate to create joyful connections, one delectable bite at a time.
King, who says she has loved chocolate since the moment she was born, learned to enjoy the art of chocolate making as a little girl. Her mom wasn’t big on cooking, but had no problem cleaning up aft er her daughter’s artful journeys in dessert making in the kitchen.
When King married her husband 20 years ago, the spark of a lifelong dream to open a dessert shop was ignited. They wanted a place in which people could enjoy time together, where they could bond over dessert. According to King, “Th e highlight of any meal is always dessert. You get a ‘wow factor’ with dessert. And people are always happy around chocolate.
“Ninety percent of chocolate companies are named aft er their owner. I didn’t want the company to be about me. I wanted it to be about the chocolate itself – about the sense of community that is created by coming together.” And chocolate is the vehicle that this family is taking to live their dream.
“We want to teach our girls how to build a business. It’s a perfect way to have fun together as a family,” says King.
King, a bankruptcy and business attorney, has always found ways to infuse creativity and hope into a profession that is often considered very black and white.
“Th e reason I am good at what I do in the realm of law is that I cultivate the creative side of my work. Th e walls of my office are decorated in words of inspiration. Some of the jewelry that I create is displayed there. Bankruptcy can be depressing for everyone involved. I want my clients to be encouraged and inspired to know that things can and will get better,” King says.
King decided now was the time to take a leap of faith to invest time and love into this business. “I turned 50. My girls are at a good age to participate in building something that can last for a lifetime. I want them to find their gifts. Whether they choose to pursue chocolate or not, they
are learning life principles, business skills and building a dream”—the fine art of thinking outside of the proverbial box of chocolates.
King’s daughters, Elyssa, 13, and Gloria Grace (GiGi), 11, have found their gift s in their passion
for this business. Elyssa is the company’s social media, technology and photography guru. All of the photos on Talk About Chocolate’s website, blog and social media are taken by Elyssa, a girl with an eye for capturing all that is beautiful about the art of chocolate. She’s also quite the wordsmith. King is sure that she and Elyssa will ultimately pen a book about their adventures in making artisan chocolate.
GiGi is the creative guru and collaborates with her mom on pairing the chocolate with additions of color on each piece of edible art. GiGi hand paints the chocolates using all natural colored cocoa butter. Coupled with a keen sense of creativity is GiGi’s incredible business sense. She came up with the name Talk About Chocolate. “GiGi is the essence of color in our world,” says the proud mom/chocolatier.
Justin King, Catherine’s husband, coordinates the systems, helps maintain effi ciency and is developing the design concept for the family’s ultimate plan to open a retail dessert shop in the North State. If everything goes according to plan, Talk About Chocolate will be available in local stores and online by February 14, the quintessential day of all things chocolate.
King comes up with the recipes for the chocolate, and her mind is bursting with new concepts and ways to present the healthier side of chocolate to America. “American chocolate is so overloaded with sugar, preservatives and palm oil. We really want to focus on the European method of chocolate making,” King says. Their chocolates, made with essential oils
and love, are the embodiment of all that is delicious and good for the mind, body and soul about chocolate.
King’s passion took her all the way to Europe last July, where she and her family spent time
creating chocolate in as many countries as possible, most notably with Gill Lyth, Scottish chocolatier and owner of world-renowned company Hello Chocolate. King also enrolled
in Ecolle de Chocolat, an online artisan chocolate-making course comprised of aspiring chocolatiers from all over the world. King was impressed with the bigger world perspective she
gained on chocolate upon completion of her coursework.
One of the most inspiring nuggets of wisdom taken from their trip to Europe was the
realization that almost all chocolate companies in Europe are family businesses. According to
King, “there is just something about chocolate that knits people together.”
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