Hello and good day!
I get asked all the time about which of our products is my favorite. It is a hard question because each and every product we offer is my baby.
Javier, our chocolatier, creates them and I am one of the people who gets to decide whether they are good enough to sell.
If it isn't a great product, we aren't willing to offer it. Therefore, I love every product.
However, if I am pushed, I usually say that my favorite is our 68% dark chocolate for sentimental reasons. It was our first product and our only product for seven long years. We built our business on that one product, 1.1-pound bricks of 68% dark chocolate. All things being equal, I default to the product that holds a very meaningful place in my heart.
So many days when our business prospects seemed bleak, I sat alone at my desk with cut up squares of Fortunato No. 4 68% dark chocolate and realized that I'd better do whatever it took to keep that lovely chocolate in the world.
Then I'd pick up the phone and cold call another restaurant and eventually I'd make the next sale. Unfortunately, whenever I answer that our 68% dark chocolate is my favorite product, it seems like a cop out.
What people really want to know is what my favorite new product is. To recap briefly, we decided to become a manufacturing company in November 2021.
Prior to that, we only had 3 products, all offered in 1.1-pound bricks. We had our 68% dark chocolate, and two milk chocolates, a 47% and a 36%. As an aside, my brother Brian's favorite of those three is the 47% milk chocolate. He is a dark milk chocolate kind of guy. We'd been selling just those three products for roughly twelve years. For a decade, we were a pure wholesale company, selling to high end restaurants and chocolatiers.
From January 2020 to November 2021, we sold our three products online via ecommerce. In November 2021, we opened our first retail location and decided to make our own products. Since then, we have developed over 50 new products made with our three base chocolates.
All are available in our retail locations, and many are available online. Come fall of this year, we'll put a bunch more online. It has been an amazing journey becoming a product creation and manufacturing company, and we are just getting started. I am especially proud because we had no idea what in the world we were doing.
We just knew what we wanted to do and what we felt we had to do, and we went for it. We've figured it out as we've gone along, and thankfully, the results have been wonderful.
The problem we've run into for two years in a row is shipping during the summer. Heat can melts our chocolate all of which have cocoa butter and also for environmental reasons, we opt not to use warm weather packaging. This is bad for our business and bad for our customers, because many would like to have some Fortunato Chocolate on hand throughout the summer months.
Over the last couple of years, we've brainstormed many product ideas that could potentially be shipped in the heat. I was passionate about a cake mix featuring our chocolate and an at home soft serve or fudgesicle mix. Neither idea stood up to scrutiny, even though I continued to lobby for them long after the viability was disproven.
Aren't you frustrated when you know you are wrong, but your pride won't let you admit it? Thankfully, the team took a hard line with me, and I wasn't able to push through faulty products. We continued throwing ideas around until one started to check all the boxes.
It was my wonderful wife, Nery's, idea, and she has also project managed the production in concert with our chocolatier Javier.
The idea was chocolate nut butters. We can ship them in the heat, and it doesn't matter if they melt. They can be firmed up in the fridge or in a room temperature pantry. You also have the option of leaving them gooey if you want to spread them on a piece of bread or do some dipping.
Roadblocks fell away one by one. How would they taste with our chocolate Would the flavors of pure Nacional cacao shine through or be over shadowed?The nut butters are delicious and the flavor of our chocolate is not lost at all. It is a wonderful compliment.
Could we find a good supplier of nut butters who would offer us an affordable price? We were able to find a great, ethical company, who gave us a workable deal.
Could we figure out packaging and labeling requirements? Thanks to Nery, everything proved doable. I just put the almond butters online and we'll be putting peanut butters online next week. We are still waiting for one last packing supply to put the peanut butters into full production. We'll have a 47% dark milk version and a 68% dark version of each nut butter.
Going back to the question I get asked all the time, what is my favorite product? It is now our 68% dark chocolate almond butter. In a short period of time, it has become a food item that I don't want to live without. I eat it with a spoon straight out of the jar.
One of the problems we had to solve was how to make a dark chocolate nut butter creamy while using real chocolate. Look at the ingredients of most chocolate nut butters and you will find cocoa powder instead of whole chocolate, and added oils, usually palm oil.
All of our nut butters are just chocolate and nuts, nothing else. Real chocolate has a tendency to harden when cooled. That is the cocoa butter congealing. Cocoa powder has the cocoa butter squeezed out of it and this makes it easier to work with and less temperature sensitive.
Thanks to the product creation ability of our wonderful chocolatier Javier Valencia, we've learned some secrets about producing a nut butter using real chocolate. They are our own trade secrets that took us several months to discover.
The result is a soft nut butter that is luscious, not overly sweet, and that makes you say, "ooooohhhhhhh", when you eat it.
The milk chocolate almond butter is essentially almond butter cups in a jar. They are both fabulous.
But the dark chocolate almond butter is my absolute favorite, so much so that I have hidden my jar inside my house. Kind of a funny thing to do, because I am an owner of the company and can get a new jar any time I want.
I don't want my family to find my stash though, because I can't bear not having it available when I want a scoop.
For environmental reasons, we are packaging these in a 10-ounce glass jar. We figure you can reuse the glass jars in your house, or if you don't, we think that glass jars are more likely to be recycled.
Finally, the price per ounce is about the same as every other product on our website, which we think is fair and is as affordable as we can make it. When you hold a 10-ounce glass jar of nut butter in your hand, you'll sense that you got a good value. Then when you taste the nut butter, you'll know that the value was excellent.
I'm running out of space now, so I will need to sign off.
But two last things.
First, thank you. If it wasn't for our friends and customers who support our company, we wouldn't be able to develop new, delicious products. It is our pleasure to serve you and I promise that we will continue to do our best to bring products that you love into existence.
Second, we offer a 100% unconditional money back guarantee on this product. Since it can't be heat damaged, we will give you a refund if you are dissatisfied with your purchase of this product for any reason whatsoever. No questions asked.
We don't guarantee against heat damage, but we do offer a 100% quality guarantee on every product. If you'd like to pick up our new almond butters, simply click the link below and take a look.
And like I said, the peanut butters will be online next week as well.
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
Follow us on Instagram - @fortunatonochocolate