Sunday, November 20, 2016


Where Science Is Delicious!!!

Variety Plate
We were first introduced to The Chocolate Lab at Choctoberfest in 2015.  We purchased and sampled several of their delicious truffles and enjoyed them immensely. 

This year we were lucky enough to see them again at the aforementioned Choctoberfest and were invited to visit their new storefront on East Colfax to experience a tasting with the owner and "Chief Mad Scientist" Phil Simonson.

Triple Truffle Pie
They day we took part in the most glorious of all science experiments known to humankind.  Yes, we are talking about CHOCOLATE.  Besides an amazing assortment of truffles that included such flavors as salted chocolate caramel, salt and pepper, and brown butter and sage, we were able to taste the Triple Truffle Pie with Whipped Mascarpone and Raspberries, Toasted Coconut Clusters, Glazed Pecans with Dark Chocolate, and Cashew Toffee as well.

Creme Brulee
We wanted to know how Phil, a gentlemen who was never all that fond of chocolate in the first place, learned to love it so much that he has created an incredibly successful Colorado business. 
And that leads us to ....

Six Questions From The Maniacs...

1.  What inspired you to start this business? 

I have always yearned to work for myself.  It just took me several years to find a niche concept.  This business was inspired by my friends and family.  Seeing the reactions to the chocolates, and them constantly asking for more caused me to go into business.  

2. What keeps you motivated?

The enjoyment my customers have on their faces when they consume my products.  Without them, I would not have a business.  

3.  What are your plans for the future?

Glazed Pecans with Dark Chocolate
This is an awesome question.  Eventually I would like to see my business grow into several locations where we serve food as well as provide our chocolates and other treats.  

4.  Why Chocolate?  

Love.  My husband is the creator of the truffle recipe and gave me a box of truffles for our first valentines day.  As our relationship grew, he taught me the recipe and we slowly started the business.  Now, almost 7 years later, it's the love of making my customers, staff, friends and family excited about the crazy creations I get to do.  

5.  What is your favorite product and why?

This is a hard question for me.  I have so many products that I enjoy, even for someone who doesn't really like chocolate.  For truffles, I can't tell you my favorite because they change.  The more creative I get with things, such as the hatch chile, roasted street corn and cotija cheese, the more I want to eat chocolate.  

6.  What is the one thing you want people to know about your business?

Chocolate Carmel Filled Raspberries
Just one?  hmmm....  hand-crafted, creative flavors, no artificial ingredients or preservatives.  
The Chocolate Lab's products are a testament to how hard Phil works to create his amazing chocolates.  The store is directly across from City Park at 2504 E. Colfax Avenue and is open from 11am to 9pm Tuesday through Saturday, Sunday 11am to 7pm, and Monday 12:00pm to 5pm.   They will cater events both large and small and you can even ask for a truffle flavor to be created for you if you are feeling saucy.  Truffles and all other products can be purchased online and shipped cold anywhere you would like them to go.  Be sure to visit their website and like their Facebook page to keep up with the latest news and get details about their upcoming events.

Thank you so much to Phil for his hospitality and time.  We enjoyed getting to know you and look forward to seeing you soon.  Keep up the good work.  It's businesses like yours that make Colorado proud!

Photos courtesy of Miss Rio Photography

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Satchi Fudge

"Oooh fuuudge!"

 - Ralphie Parker, A Christmas Story

MenuManiacs was first introduced to Satchi Fudge at the very first Choctoberfest back in 2013.  It truly was love at first taste.  Aricia and her son, Scott are some of our favorite people at this event and their enthusiasm for what they do only adds to our love of everything Satchi.

The one thing that makes Satchi Fudge so different is the texture and quality of their product.  All of us are used to traditional holiday fudge.  They kind that is basically a dry, overly sweet, hunk of chocolate that is good in theory but after a bite or two, leaves a bad taste in your mouth and often a bad feeling in your tummy.  That is 100%, definitely NOT the case with Satchi.

Image courtesy of Satchi Fudge
Satchi sells fudge in a jar which is exceptional.  The fudge itself is creamy and smooth and is fabulous on everything from toast to fruit or as a stand alone treat.  They do sell fudge bars as well which are as moist and delicious as the jar form.

Because they are such a wonderful Colorado company, we asked Aricia to answer some questions about her business and products. 

Ladies, Gentlemen, and Maniacs of all ages, we would like to introduce something new to you all.
It's a little something we like to call...

Six Questions From The Maniacs

1.  What inspired you to start this business?

Scott was 15 and considering what he wanted to study in college. Business interested him, but he wanted to try it out before committing to a major. Our family tradition is to bring fudge to friends and neighbors and people are always asking where they can buy it. So we created a business plan, studied other businesses for "best practices" and spoke with mentors. And we were so inspired by what people were doing! Not only were they bringing really great products to market with a lot of integrity, they were working to help other businesses succeed and doing good in the world. We created a model that combined the best qualities and values and everything grew from there. We entered the Colorado Chocolate Festival's contest about two months later and to our happy surprise, we won "Best Fudge in Colorado." Since then, we've won each time we've entered and Satchi has gone from an academic exercise to a real business.

2. What keeps you motivated?

Both Scott and I really love learning new things and running a business provides new opportunities every day. We've had the opportunity to learn from some amazing mentors, business experts and chefs. Scott's a junior in business college now and Satchi provides a canvas for him to try new ideas. And, of course, we love trying new recipes. As Scott was growing up, our favorite vacations were cooking weekends we attended with the most talented chefs. So we love our time in the kitchen. Most of all, though, the people we meet keep us motivated. People are so great and they respond so well to our product.

3.  What are your plans for the future?

We have lots of dreams! We'd like to find more businesses to grow with - whether those are shops and stores, farmer's markets and shows or individuals who make really great products. We also want to partner with more non-profits that are working to help kids. One of our guiding principles is to build good will, so we like helping people who are doing great things in the world. We've enjoyed donating to groups like Broomfield FISH, Be Mindful - a group that helps homeless kids in Denver (among other things) and Jhamtse Gatsal - a school in India that helps abandoned children. So many people are doing such outrageously incredible things and when we help, we get to be a small part of that.

4.  Why Chocolate?

Chocolate is just magical. Growing up, I always wanted to work as a candy maker so for me, it's a dream come true. Our fudge is inspired by an old family recipe. To be honest, it wasn't really Christmas until the fudge from Aunt Ruth Alice arrived and I wanted to share that joy and happiness with other people. It's near and dear to my heart so we use a blend of the very best chocolate and cocoa. We also use custom blended oils - made for us by another small family business. And when our customers ask for something, we do our best to try and create it. I love that Satchi creates customers for life. So many of our customers have become friends because we get to see them so often!

5.  What is your favorite product and why?

I love our Peanut Butter Chocolate fudge. It's just really smooth and rich and so incredibly satisfying when I want something sweet.  I'm known to snitch a bite of the Salted Caramel Chocolate when we're making that recipe too! 
My favorite one to make is our Chocolate Butterscotch Toffee because it just smells so yummy.

One of my favorite endorsements was from a personal trainer who said he loved telling people about my fudge because a small amount totally satisfies their chocolate craving.

6.  What is the one thing you want people to know about your business?

We'd love to see you at one of our shows or farmer's markets and if you can't make it, please stop by Satchi Ananda Wholesale Candy Company - Best Fudge in Colorado If people want to see what we're up to, they can "like" our Satchi Fudge site on Facebook.  That would mean a lot to us.

Coming up, we'll be at the Colorado Country Christmas, The Athena Festival and at the Alles Gute booth at Christkindl in Denver. Please stop by and say hi! We'll save a taste (or two) of fudge for you!

Satchi Fudge is simply awesome!  If you are looking to treat yourself or find a Holiday gift for those people who have everything, give Satchi a try.  You won't be disappointed.