Beyond sweets: At Seattle Chocolates, it’s all about the journey
Chocolate means something different to everyone. Maybe it reminds you of Halloween, Valentine’s Day, a special anniversary or even just being a kid. At Seattle Chocolates, chocolate is made to be an everyday luxury and experience.
Seattle Chocolates is nestled in a corner of Tukwila a few miles from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Owner and CEO of Seattle Chocolates Jean Thompson is the innovator behind the company’s latest chocolate line, jcoco. Inspired by fashion and culture, jcoco balances style and flavor to be the “foodie’s” chocolate of choice.
“Every piece of chocolate should tell a story,” says Thompson.
The line’s debut bar for Alaska Airlines is a sweet and savory combination of white chocolate, cayenne and orange, that was inspired by a friend’s trip to the Yucatan Peninsula. It was very hot and when the friend asked for something to help her cool down, a local sliced an orange in half and dunked it in cayenne chili powder. The story inspired Thompson to create the jcoco cayenne veracruz orange bar.
Every jcoco bar flavor has a story or journey behind it, and with Alaska Airlines, you can try one on your next journey. Alaska Airlines MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members may now request a jcoco bar as an in-flight treat in place of their complimentary alcoholic beverage.
A local, responsible company
In 2014, Thompson’s company started making chocolate bars using Rainforest Alliance-certified cocoa to ensure that her chocolate is made responsibly.
“As a company, we are committed to responsible sourcing and production,” says Thompson. “And as much as the world and people in other countries need help, I also want to help local communities too.”
For Thompson, sharing chocolate is like breaking bread – it connects one person to another. When she started the jcoco line, she wanted that connection to extend beyond those sharing a sweet treat and give back to the community. So, she built that give-back into the jcoco brand.
Thompson visits the cities that her chocolates reach, and volunteers at the local food banks that benefit from jcoco sales. The proceeds from jcoco bars also go towards that goal. For every jcoco bar purchased, Seattle Chocolates gives a fresh, healthy serving of food to someone who would otherwise go without.
“Today, American consumers are smart. They are mindful with their purchases,” says Thompson. “They want great products with a good story and that give back to the communities around them.”
From the ground up
With a little less than 60 employees, Thompson knows almost everyone in her office and factory. She knows how truffles and bars are made and boxed as well as all of the warehouse procedures – such as the mandatory rule that anyone who walks into the factory must wash their hands, wear a coat and sport a hairnet.
The production line is all about temperature and ingredients. Thompson knows every step. The chocolates are triple-layered, cooled and packaged. Seattle Chocolates makes only 300 pounds of chocolate at a time (roughly 5,000 1 oz. bars), so each batch is controlled and not mass produced. The chocolates are packaged individually by the ounce because that is a healthy – and satisfying – amount to eat at one time.
It’s a culture chocolate
Thompson uses bright colors, fun designs and distinctive flavors to hook her customers.
Seattle Chocolates takes inspiration from fashion, couture and smart indulgence. In the store, there are chocolate bars and truffles of every color, custom-made dresses on display to match the wrappers and always free samples to enjoy when you walk in.
The theme? Fun. Thompson feeds off of culture and her customers’ values to feed her line of couture chocolates. Check out some of her inspiration at the Seattle Chocolates Pinterest Page: