(Dec8 – Dec12)
This past week was a blur of bad cocoa, good cocoa, new boughts(sp?) of strong weather, and positive sales reports from the businesses carrying my products. I remember the parts better than the order, which might also have to do with the fact that I’ve only had coffee about 4 times in the past 3 weeks. So as I was saying, week #2 went something like this…
My chocolate recipes were still coming out not bad but not right. When I cut the loaves the ends of the biscotto would break. This was particularly a problem because every store I’m serving is ordering at least one type of chocolate recipe – and all of them want Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti. In addition to the breaking I noted that the texture was cake-like by comparison to what I’ve been producing since I started making biscotti. I thought perhaps I had an issue with adjusting my oven temperature now that I’m working with high grade commercial ovens – but the problem was only occurring with my chocolate recipes. My dad was suggesting that maybe it was an issue with my cocoa – I’d tried just about everything else. I picked John’s brains and he suggested it probably had to do with the fat levels of the cocoa. After doing a bit of research I found out that there was a difference between what I had bought for the company and what I’ve been using for the years prior. After a few test batches, my ability to make Double Chocolate, Chocolate Peppermint, and Chocolate Orange Biscotti was back! Prior to this though there were more batches donated to the Langely Tue/Thur soup kitchen.
This week has been one of weather. The snow we woke up to November 30th stuck around until about December 5th – much of it in the form of compact snow and ice along with downed trees. Early this week we had heavy rains. I worked late Tuesday night to get my production done – by late I mean I left at 1210 AM Wednesday morning – I had to walk home, which takes about an hour … suffice to say I got more than a little wet despite my gear. Late in the week the area had heavy winds and the power got knocked out – fortunately all of my baking was done, but I was out of power for about 48 hours … oh, and did I mention the house I live in is on a well and the pump is electric? No power also means no water. That made for a speed bump in some of the other work I intended to do for the company. I found there comes a point when you’re out of power long enough that as you’re boiling water on your BBQ you realize you’re camping in your own home, just that your house is a really fancy tent and your bed is still more comfortable than an air mattress.
Tuesday I went to the soup kitchen with about three batches of not-quite-right biscotti (and about as many more on Thursday). I got to meet Dan, who heads up the soup-kitchen crew. Dan is a character and clearly a good guy. Everyone contributing there was VERY nice, VERY friendly – I felt good going there and even better having gotten to donate.
Somewhere during the second half of the week I started hearing good things about my biscotti. (Yes, back to the bullets – remember that ‘lack of time but get it written’ thing from Week 1? Same deal.)
- Jessica, the manager of Three Sisters Grocery, called me (Friday?) asking when the next supply would arrive – they were out of stock and customers were coming in asking for more!
- Useless Bay Coffee requested an adjustment with their stock for better sales. When I went in to the café it appeared about half of their stock had sold – that’s not bad. After I left the café a little bird told me that the manager of the Langley post office has lately been enjoying some lemon biscotti – the post office in Langley is next door to Useless Bay Café … hmm, I wonder who’s lemon biscotto that was?
- Dad drove my deliveries north Friday afternoon – the first stop being at Greenbank Store & Grille. Last and this week they have taken the biggest order, approximately a third larger than my other locations. That evening dad reported that when he arrived they only had six single-serving packages remaining.
- I spoke with Drag N Fly Espresso in Oak Harbor and they are about ready for a re-stock. They have no more supply of Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti. I can’t blame their customers – it’s good stuff! (Although I rather like the Ginger Citrus and the Almond, too.)
That was the first supply to go out and sold over the course of … about a week and a half … as the saying goes “That ain’t shabby.” I take it as rather good news.
Okay, I’ve now finished my first 2 blog posts – it’s 234AM on December 15th and I’m going to bed. I hope these have amused you because they’ll have to hold you for a while. Tomorrow … er, today I have a good bit of calling and other administrative work to do – including talking with a few land-side businesses about carrying my product … I wonder who will be the first one?
Goodnight Alfalfa, Don
PS – If you’re on my Xmas gift list you can pretty much expect biscotti. Any money I have is too tied up in the company to buy you another bad tie or a chia-pet … although I have to say it’s pretty cool that they’re now making zombie chia-pets. I wonder if they’ll start making chia-ties.
PPS – Saturday’s date was 12.13.14.