|Tell us a little bit about your background?|
Robin: I grew up in L.A. and went to Smith College to major in engineering and had the opportunity to conduct zero-gravity experiments with the NASA Student Program. This was eventually defunded, and I decided to transfer to UC San Diego, where they had a better program. After graduating, I moved to the east coast and worked in finance for a few years. I hated it (the 2008 crash didn’t help) and decided it was time for a career change. I wasn’t doing what I was passionate about, which was food. I grew up in a family of food lovers- growing up revolved around preparing food and trying adventurous cuisines. It was all of a sudden very clear to me that I needed to pursue this path. I believe that when you work on your passion, it will take you to the path of success. I enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu in Portland soon after, then interned at The Marine Room in La Jolla after graduating. I worked my way up, and am now the Sous Chef and have worked there for seven years.
For those of you who have never been to The Marine Room, it’s one of the most beautiful restaurants in San Diego, with a fantastic ocean view and they also has the best scallops with foie gras that you need to try.
|How did you start Nola Rose Chocolate?|
R: I just had my first baby a few months ago, Nola Rose (yes, she named her chocolate company after her daughter, too cute), and discovered during my “mommy time” (down-time after your newborn goes to bed) that I should pursue something I was passionate about. I absolutely love chocolate, and would usually have a glass of rosé with it while she was sleeping. In San Diego, there aren’t many handmade “luxury” chocolates, so I decided to create fancy ones myself. There aren’t many that are handmade…A lot of times when you look at ingredients, the first ingredient you never see is chocolate. I wanted to whip up my own that were real chocolates. You would also understand all the ingredients in it. I would browse Pinterest to get inspiration from there, and that’s where I got the idea of “bon bon” art. It was a lot of trial and error, including how I wanted the shape and flavor to be. I would make the flavors from what I personally like but they were also chef-driven. I would go into Specialty Produce and look at the different herbs and products that could go well together. I wanted the flavors to be strong, so when you take a bite, you’d know exactly what it is.
Her flavors in her box include: Black Currant, Brown Butter Pecan, Guava w/ Rosewater, Rosemary w/ Olive Oil, Pear w/ Spiced Honey, Lemon w/ Lemon Thyme, Maple w/ Blueberry and Pistachio.
|What is the process in making your chocolates?|
R: I make a couple of 100 batches at a time. From training at The Marine Room, I learned to have excellent standards in the products that you’re serving and if it doesn’t reach those standards, I shouldn’t be sharing them with my customers. I bring the same concept to my chocolates, and would never have a chocolate that isn’t 100% the best product I can share with people.
You can tell Robin really values the customer experience, from the chocolates looking visually appealing down to not choosing a specific flavor because the texture and the ingredient were not consistent like the others.
|Where do you see Nola Rose Chocolate in the near future?|
R: Right now, my husband and I are taking orders online and personally delivering them every Thursday. We are working on having them available in wine and beer tasting rooms around San Diego and also the local farmer’s markets. I would eventually love to expand them into different shapes and flavors and have themed/seasonal chocolates (scroll further and you’ll see her upcoming Fall flavors). In the future, I would love to have a Nola Rose Chocolate store with candy bars, bon bons, and chocolates.
You can order these by messaging her on Facebook (here) or Instagram (here). Personally, I like ordering boxes for myself, haha. Watching Game of Thrones, a box of Nola Rose Chocolates and a glass of Chianti=Heaven!
New flavors for the Fall….