Blog

  • Intrigue Chocolate Co. New Retail Shop

    We did it! We signed a lease on a new retail shop!

    The Intrigue Chocolate team is on cloud nine. It's not only a big step for the business, we also know an easier to find street-level shop means we will see many of you more frequently, and that's awesome.

    A fund raising campaign is up and running through Community Sourced Capital. Micro-loans of $50 or more are matched dollar for dollar, so your contributions have a significant impact. A bit more about CSC and our plan is on the campaign page. If you are able to and choose to help us with a micro-loan, you have our sincere gratitude!

    Improving the  Retail Experience

    If you've ever visited our current kitchen/retail workshop, you know it can be a bit difficult to find. The hallways and stairs to and from our door...um...have a lot of character. Those that make it to us are rewarded with a chocolate tasting, but we know we lose some folks along the way.

    The new retail shop is just east of the intersection of Jackson and Occidental. We'll join the walking avenue with other eateries such as London Plane, Bar Sajor, and Rain Shadow Meats, as well as the always active Starbucks, Cafe Umbria, and Zeitgeist Cafe. This is an up-and-coming section of Pioneer Square and our shop will have plenty of visibility.

    We hope this space will mimic some important elements from our "behind-the-scenes" converted kitchen experience that customers enjoy now. Namely, the conversational elements of the tasting flights, seeing and smelling the spices mixed into the chocolate, and the simple and welcoming aesthetic of practical materials. What we hope to add is an easier purchasing process and more retail display for fun items like flavored sugars, tea blends, and tempered chocolate bars.

    Last Thursday we had the fortune of hosting architects and interior designers from Olson & Kundig in our new space. They broke the box with cool ideas and vision for how a person can experience the space. Below are a few pictures before it really got packed in there.

     

    About Community Sourced Capital

    To accomplish the construction of our tasting bar, building a scullery, and painting the walls, we have enlisted the help of Community Sourced Capital. CSC helps small businesses acquire loans smaller than banks like to offer.

    CSC can offer us this smaller sized loan by aggregating micro-loans from you, our community, neighbors, friends, and family. CSC calls these loan segments “squares”, or $50 increments of the greater total loan. The minimum square is $50, the maximum being $1,000 per person. Every month CSC will work with us to review our profit numbers and determine a responsible payment back to the lenders based on our net profit, plus a $100 fee to CSC for the service and to encourage quick repayment.

    If you would like to help support this effort of ours, please check out the CSC campaign page here: http://csc.rocks/intriguechocolate. Thank you in advance!

     

  • Tea Blend in the Spirt of Valentine's Day

    Aaron was inspired to craft a tea blend to match the festivities here at the shop and we’d like to share it with you. You will receive a small packet of the tea with every chocolate purchase in the shop or online this week.

    We are however choosing not to call it “Valentine’s Day Tea”, because we know not everyone is a fan of the day *chuckle*. If that’s you, then you can instead think of this tea as a reminder that spring is just around the corner.

    So what’s in it? Dried rose petals and Darjeeling black tea. You’ll have enough tea for a small teapot. Just steep for 4 minutes in 24floz of 200F water.

    The clean, slightly floral base of the Darjeeling tea is nicely complimented by the unmistakable aroma of rose garden. That’s right! We promised you a rose garden.

  • New Items: Greeting Cards and Canvas Bags

    We are proud to announce two new items to the shopping cart: greeting cards, and logo'd canvas bags.

    The beautiful greeting cards are produced by photographer Charity Burggraaf, the same photographer responsible for all the professional looking photos on our website (some of them we've taken and attempted to mimic her style, like the bag below... we do ok, but Charity is better!). These cards are blank on the inside, so you can write what you wish. Or you can request we write something inside the card and one of us at Intrigue with good penmanship will put it together for you. You can see all seven styles of greeting card here.

    Canvas bags joined our line up as more of a necessity. Turns out large orders of chocolate really need a strong bag to help carry them home! The bags are 100% cotton, well constructed, and big enough to hold a couple one-gallon jugs. You can order your own canvas bags here for, well, all the obvious reasons you would want a canvas bag.

    The supplier and the screen printing is fulfilled by a local non-profit Sanctuary Arts Center which strives to serve homeless youth by providing a safe, warm place during the day where the youth can experience success through art. Screen printing allows SAC to fund part of the program while also providing internship and basic job skill learning opportunities to youth that qualify. We proudly support them!

  • A Visit to Photographer Charity Burggraaf's Studio in the Bemis Building

    Any of the photography you see in the main areas of our website is produced by the wonderfully talented, Charity Burggraaf. You can see more of her work on her website. Last week we had the opportunity to visit her new studio in the Bemis building, which is fortunately very close to the chocolate shop.

    The Bemis building has a rich history. Built in 1904 the factory was originally used to create burlap bags to serve the nation’s industries. Construction was typical of the time, using heavy timber post and beams with a brick exterior. By 1915 the factory could no longer keep up with demand and expanded to 115,000 square feet of available space.

    Since then the factory has served many different needs. Derelict and broken for a while, it underwent a massive renovation in 1995 to become a  live & work artist facility. Today it has beautiful wood floors, dramatic hallways to hang large pieces of art, and massive windows providing north facing sunlight, which Charity claims to be her favorite kind of light for taking photos.

    Charity, knowing us, provided some wonderfully fancy cookies and a jar of specialty jam she picked up at a market in Ballard. It was delicious, of course. And we did leaver her with a few cookies left.

     

    We highly recommend attending an art show at the Bemis. It’s four floors full of wonderfully interesting work and you’ll feel like you’re getting a dose of Seattle historical culture, as well.

    Thanks again for having us out, Charity!

  • Coffee and Chocolate Pairing with Caffe Vita


    In preparation for the Northwest Chocolate festival this past weekend, Aaron and I were fortunate enough to be paired with Caffe Vita for a coffee and chocolate pairing class. Cafe Vita is one of the most passionate-about-their-product companies we can  think of, and their coffee made for some fantastic pairings because of it.

    Prior to the festival Ross, Caffe Vita's lead trainer and coffee expert, met with us for about an hour to cup the coffees he wanted to feature and help us decide what pairings would be best at their cozy cafe / roastery / office up on Capital Hill. Ross took us through the main doors, past the barista counter, and into the back where we encountered this amazing, vintage industrial roaster.



    Not shown in the picture is how tall this piece of equipment is, maybe 30 feet with the air scrubbers. You can see the beans through the peephole, turning and flipping inside the roaster, and below the cast iron doors are the cooling racks for the batch just before it. It's truly a beautiful machine and maybe the most steampunk like contraption I've ever seen.

    After taking a few moments to admire the working roasting area, Ross led us upstairs to the office area, full of sculptures from around the world, young and hip staff making arrangements for travels across the seas to source beans, and small potted coffee trees on desks. Ross had prepared a selection of coffees for us to taste and a bit of information on each one, so we jumped right in.




    Caffe Vita sources from all over the world and you can learn more about their single origin coffees here: http://www.caffevita.com/coffee/single-origin. Ross selected three origin coffees: Kenya, Ethiopia, and one from Nicaragua.

    Kenya: Herbal aroma, like basil with some blackberry. The flavor was very savory.
    Ethiopia: Floral aroma, like jasmine or lemongrass. Had the flavor of a light ginger.
    Nicaragua: A wonderful aroma of cherry, cocoa, and apricot. The flavor had a wonderful almond and honey note to it. 

    Ross brewed up each batch using a pour over method while we waited eagerly for each one. Frankly, the pairing exploration, wines or teas or coffees, is one of the best perks to working with chocolate.




    The first up was the Ethiopia. With the wonderfully floral notes we were unsure what chocolate to try first, so we just all started at different places. There were some good pairings, but the best fit by far was the Bourbon an Vanilla Bean. The vanilla was just such a nice compliment to the delicate flavors and the bourbon made it a luscious experience.

    We then moved onto the Kenya, which may have been our most interesting pairing of the day. With such savory flavor notes to the coffee, the Basil chocolate quickly came to mind for all three of us. It was a match made in coffee & chocolate heaven. Ross flattered us by taking the pairing desk to desk and excitedly sharing with rest of the staff. Good thing we made plenty of samples for the festival.

    The Nicaragua was our last pairing. The coffee had a wonderful cocoa flavor which really presented well on the front of the tongue, leaving a lot of room for other flavors to pair well with it. We found two pairings that worked very well, both the Fortunato #4 (a peruvian origin chocolate), and the Ghost Chilli chocolate with some heat. In other pairings, both of these flavors struggled. Think of it like neither had enough personal space to be comfortable. But this coffee filled so many different areas of the pallet that the chocolate was able to really shine and compliment the coffee brew.



    Then it was off to the festival. Ross and Aaron gave a great presentation, thank you to all of those that made it to the early Sunday morning session!

    And a big special thanks to Caffe Vita for partnering with Intrigue. Thank you guys and gals! They were kind enough to send us away with some super-fly, black thread with green-brimmed hats (which we love). It's debatable who wears it best. Cheers!


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