Hello and good day!
I've received several messages from customers sharing a recent article in the news about elevated levels of lead and cadmium in dark chocolate. Yep, that is a real thing and it can be bad for your health.
For our part, we've had every single lot of our cacao tested for the last 14 years, and the cacao we use has never come back with high levels of toxic metals.
The testing is carried out in Switzerland where the regulations are much more stringent than in the United States. That makes sense. The Swiss are by far the largest per capita consumers of chocolate in the world.
There has never been more than a very small fraction of the legal limit in our cacao. It is completely safe for human consumption. Hopefully that gives you some peace of mind!
Also, I wanted to mention something that happened in the shop yesterday.
It highlights one of the best parts of being a small business owner and one of the best reasons for shopping with small, artisanal businesses. Customers and owners actually get to know each other.
We have a pair of regular customers who come into the shop once a week. They are a mother and her 11 year old son. They are the sweetest people and we've gotten to know them well. By the way, I met them walking around a Target parking lot where I was telling folks that we were giving away free hot chocolate in our shop.
I've made so many friends doing that. But I digress.
Our two wonderful customers came in beaming. They had on smiles from ear to ear. The mom proudly announced that they'd come in for a special treat. Her son just received his report card and he'd gotten straight A's and made the honor roll.
At age 11, a kid has a toothy smile. They've got adult teeth, but their body and head are not adult sized yet. The teeth are proportionately too big. The boy flashed that big toothed grin and I could tell he was so proud of himself and also proud that his mom was proud.
I felt honored and blessed that they thought of us for their celebration.It was especially great because we see them all the time and now I know what this young man is all about. He is a good young man. As an adult, meeting a solid, hard working, youngster with their act together is very heart warming.
I don't know why that is. Maybe it is because you know that the country and the world will keep going after you are gone as long as there are good youngsters in the world. It gives you hope for the future.
Knowing what this young fellow accomplished, I took a harder look at him. And sure enough, I could see it in him. He has always been a smiley quiet type. He smiles a lot but doesn't talk much. He is a still water runs deep kind of kid.
I now see that this way of acting sits atop a well of deep resolve.He is driven, disciplined, confident. A winner.I am really going to look forward to seeing this youngster grow up in our shops. I can't wait to see what he'll become.
Now on to the second great part of being a small business owner. I told the mom and the kid that as a reward for his stellar accomplishment, I was going to give the boy a free item of his choice.
They loved that!
What cracked me up was that the boy was very on character in the choosing of his product. He took a long look around. He waved his mother down to listen closely as he consulted her quietly in her ear.
He was giving her pros and cons, really thinking it through. God bless his mother, she was playing right along, listening and nodding as her son pondered this weighty decision.
I mentioned to them that we were sold out of a lot of items and that they were making more stuff in the kitchen. They could go over there and see what was available too. They might find some additional options.
The boy took that in, nodded, and told his mom that they'd better go see what was over their before making their final decision. Both the mother and I got a chuckle out of that, but hey, it was his day.
I called over to the kitchen shop and told them about the young man coming over and how he was to receive a free item. I don't yet know how it turned out. I don't know what they ended up taking. I'll ask them the next time I see them.
Whenever I see a good kid like that, I can't help but think of what I was like as an eleven year old.
I was a real cut up. My poor parents.
At the elementary school I went to, there was a recognition ceremony once a quarter for the students.The best students were recognized in the first quarter. The second best in the second quarter. Third in third. You get the point.
My entire school career, I was always recognized in the fourth quarter along with the other kids who sucked at school. I don't think my parents ever put two and two together and realized that they always came to school at the end of the year.
They always put on formal clothes, my dad a suit, my mom a dress, and came to the school. We took pictures, them looking proud, me looking like I was putting something over on them.
Think of all those parents who came to the school in the fourth quarter to see their underperforming youngsters get an obligatory prize. They were happy because at least they got something. The parents deserved more.
I could have done better. I didn't know how to. If only I knew then, what I know now.It wouldn't have taken much to get in that first quarter, just a little more effort and a little more solitude. I can't learn in a classroom. I have to work alone. But life doesn't work that way. We all have our own paths and learn lessons in unique ways.
It has been very busy in the stores lately, what with the holiday season upon us. One of our best team members is down with a lung ailment right when we need him the most. He is willing to power through, but we can't have a sick person in the shop.
So I am bringing my 9 year old son Isaiah with me to the shop today and tomorrow on what promise to be two of our busiest days of the entire year. He'll be 10 in January and he does a great job working the register.
People love him. He can really talk and he loves chocolate and knows the products as well as anybody. Also, people love to see a good, hard working youngster. They tip him like crazy, which of course makes him very happy.
And when I see him working so hard and doing such a good job, I couldn't be more proud.
I guess that is a third great thing about being a small business owner, you get to take your kids to work.
I hope at you have a truly blessed day!
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