Michael and Jennifer Sauvageau are bringing together chocolate and lasers to create unique gifts that are a card and edible sweet treat in one.
Their start-up company, Noteworthy Chocolates, laser engraves your personal message onto what they call chocolate stationary. It’s a 100% personalized, delicious gift.
The cool part is that you can help Noteworthy Chocolates get off the ground. The two local entrepreneurs are in the final push of a Kickstarter campaign to make it all happen. Their goal by May 15th is to raise $27,000 to pay for equipment to get the business up and running in its own space. Right now the duo works out of the Danbury Innovation Center aka the Hackerspace. The rewards for contributing to the campaign, are, of course, done in chocolate. Currently, they are 80% of the way there.
Let's back up for a moment. There are two parts to how this unique business idea came about. Last Fall Michael was coming back from an events expo in NYC and noticed that all the high-end booths were giving out chocolates.
He thought to himself, “What can you do with it (chocolate) that’s actually unique? What can you do to personalize it?” At around the same time on his Facebook feed, he saw posts about lasers. And while you wouldn’t think of putting the two things together, Michael did. He wondered, “What if you put lasers to chocolate?”
That question sparked months of research and trial and error. Once they knew the idea was feasible, they not only needed chocolate-making equipment, they needed a laser. That’s when they found themselves at the Hackerspace. Since January, Michael and Jennifer have been putting in long days and nights to perfect the process and the product. Through experimentation, they learned what type of artwork and fonts work best, in addition to dialing in the right laser temperature and speed. Michael noted that the people at the Hackerspace have been just as important as the laser; they’ve been wonderful sources of advice, mentoring, and encouragement.
Now, let's talk about the chocolate. Noteworthy Chocolates offers premium white, milk and dark chocolate stationary. Their chocolate supplier crafts Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate with cacao sustainably sourced from Ecuador. It’s made in small batches in the French artisan tradition in the US with non-GMO ingredients. The dark chocolate shares equipment with milk and white chocolate. The chocolate is soy, peanut and gluten-free. Jennifer is allergic to 7 of the 8 major allergens, plus a bunch more. So, making sure their chocolate was safe for people with certain allergies was very important.
We went straight for a dark chocolate sample. Oh, who are we kidding, we had many dark chocolate samples. It's important to be thorough after all. It has a nice bold flavor with that hint of bitterness. At 61% cacao, it's not intensely bitter, rather a nice balance. We also tried a milk chocolate sample, which was incredibly creamy. It was melt in your mouth, don't realize you ate the entire thing good.
A lot of thought has gone into not only the chocolate but also the simple eco-elegant packaging. Nearly all the packaging is either biodegradable, recyclable, reusable or compostable. Inside the hard outer box, each chocolate comes wrapped in wax paper, along with your special laser-engraved message in a traditional paper form in a wax-sealed envelope. This way you have a keepsake and don’t have to feel bad about actually eating the chocolate.
“We want it to be an experience when you open it,” said Michael, adding that there is a “Wow factor,” realizing that this chocolate message was made just for you.
Learn more about Noteworthy Chocolates on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/1S98nBO
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Photos by Renato Ghio