The name truly says it all.
Chocolove started out of love: for a baby girl on the way. Boulder founder Timothy Moley wanted to find a way to provide for her.
His idea was rooted in love: of chocolate. Looking back at his own childhood, Moley noticed chocolate was a part of so many pivotal moments in his life.
Love is what pushed Moley through the inevitable tough parts of starting a new business. In the early years, he says, he didn’t make any money while working 18 hours a day. He put himself to sleep at night by counting the number of people he’d made a little bit happier that day because of Chocolove.
And love is what keeps Moley going strong – 27 years later.
“The most common response people have about the company is, ‘I love Chocolove,’” he says. “That’s music to my ears. That’s what motivates me.”
More Than Just Chocolate
Surely you’ve seen the bars; they’re in just about every grocery store in the nation. But what you may not realize is these Boulder-made bars are so much more than just a tasty treat.
Moley hopes you can taste it – sense it, even if you don’t realize it consciously. He talks repeatedly about the “pursuit of happiness” when describing his bars, more so than he even talks about the flavors (and there are some innovative ones). Moley says he strives to package a feeling. In the same way that you can feel it when a dancer or musician truly loves what they’re doing and is pouring their soul into their artistic expression, Moley says his team is passionate and motivated.
“In packaging a feeling, we have to consider how everyone in the supply chain feels, and if everyone is happy and we carry that forward to the consumer, we can convey that happiness,” he says. “It sounds so Boulder, doesn’t it? But it’s true.”
You see, the “love” part of the name is equally as important as the “choco” part.
Although to Moley, they’re one and the same. He loves flavor and aroma. The incredibly precise ability to taste the finest details of ingredients in food is what Moley calls his artistic gift. Before founding Chocolove, he worked in herbal tea and the wine industry.
“Chocolate was intensely fascinating, because it’s very complex – and personally rewarding,” he says. “So, I started exploring it, and it was the most fun I’d had in a long time.”
Fun is a huge superpower to Moley. When something’s fun, you will stick with it for the long run, and you want to get good at it.
“Fun equates to paying attention, which equates to delivering a better result,” he says.
The Language of Chocolate
Moley remembers boxes showing up at his door, stacked with blocks of chocolate. He started eating chocolate like it was his job (and it would become so). Bite after bite, until all at once, he had an epiphany. He understood the language of chocolate.
“As a taster, every food type, whether it be coffee or wine or dare I say cigars, there’s a moment when my brain finds the key that unlocks this flavor profile and begins a deeper understanding,” Moley says. “I follow the flavor back to where the ingredients came from and how it was handled and processed.”
As he sees it, the story of everything you eat or drink is written in the food itself. With a little time and effort, he says he can decipher the message, unlock deeper insights, and then remember it.
In other words, he can taste things most people can’t. Or if they can, they can’t articulate it, much less translate it and then use that knowledge to create an entirely new “food story.”
He knows exactly why you will enjoy a Chocolove bar. And a big part of it is more than just taste, he says; it’s a feeling of well-being. That pursuit of happiness he talks about.
Year After Year
Today, Chocolove has made more than 70 different products, including seasonal products like the ever-popular peppermint-chocolate Christmas trees (molded in the shape of a tree). The first flavors came from the ideas of Moley’s friends and family, including the dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt combo.
Chocolove claims to be the first to put salt in chocolate. That’s standard across chocolate companies now. Chocolove also claims to be the first to put the cocoa content (strength) on the packaging, so it’s easier for consumers to pick out the bars that fit their preferences.
The flavor inspirations no longer come from Moley’s buddies. Today, heading up the creative side is world-class master chocolatier, Patrick Peeters, of Belgium.
But one thing hasn’t changed: Moley is still the taster.
That, and the flavors.
“Year after year, we consistently deliver on satisfaction, enjoyment, and a feeling of well-being. The original taste is still there,” he says.
He makes sure of it personally.
Today, Moley can’t put himself to sleep each night counting the 200,000-plus names of people to whom Chocolove brought a little more joy to that day. But nearly three decades later, he says he still does get moved every time he hears those three magic words: “I love Chocolove.”
Chocolate Fun Facts
- Chocolate naturally contains theobromine, which can be beneficial to the lungs and heart. Old marketing materials for chocolate companies advertised people hiking and eating chocolate. Turns out, there’s real validity to that.
- Chocolove has always been based in Boulder. Today, it employs 60 people in an 80,000-square-foot factory on four acres (with Flatirons views). Boulder’s cool, dry air is ideal for chocolate-making.