Ticket Chocolate stirs the love with Valentine’s chocolate creations
by Annabelle Marceno Pericin
Valentine’s Day and love go hand in hand with chocolate. It’s the Valentine trifecta! If chocolate is synonymous with love, then your cup will overflow courtesy of Ticket Chocolate. What makes these cups of love unique is that they begin with chocolate on a stick, waiting to be dunked into steaming milk, stirred and sipped. Ticket Chocolate’s award-winning Hot Chocolate on a Stick is hand crafted in California from fine Belgian couverture chocolate to bring European-style hot chocolate to the American market.
“Ticket Chocolate is about invoking great memories with chocolate. Our inspiration comes from flavors we grew up with and infusing childhood memories into our creations. We love bringing people back to what they loved as a kid,” explains current owner Tyler Geertsen. Who doesn’t think of their first Valentine when they see Ticket’s Conversation Heart Chocolate On A Stick?
Besides taste, design is a big focus when they create their flavors. “Every time we create a new flavor, we have to think about the inclusion on top of the design that stirs a memory,” he states. Ticket’s fall and winter collections infuse seasonal spices such as peppermint, gingerbread, cinnamon and pumpkin spice while their spring collections are more botanically based: dark chocolate with orange, milk chocolate with raspberry and white chocolate with lemon. Their best sellers and classic flavors include vanilla mint, peppermint stick, and salted caramel.
Ticket uses all Belgian chocolate in a company-propriety blend. There are approximately 20 flavors of Hot Chocolate on a Stick.
Going Beyond a Blog
Ticket Chocolate was founded by Amber Lee Fawson and her sister-in law, Andea Hancock, in 2011. Fawson started blogging about unique gift giving. She wrote a post featuring hot chocolate on a stick, a concept popular in Europe. The post did so well in the blogsphere, she felt there could be a local product there. Ticket Chocolate became the first U.S. manufacturer of Hot Chocolate on a Stick. It started taking off, getting exposure on the Today Show and lifestyle magazines including Real Simple and Sunset Magazine. Ticket Chocolate is based in Loomis, about an hour away from the California Sierra Foothills. It started as a home business, operating out of Fawson’s home. After having her fourth child, Fawson wanted more balance with family and sold the business to Tyler Geertsen in 2014. Before purchasing Ticket Chocolate, Geertsen joined Ticket in 2012, helping expand the business in Los Angeles and eventually moving to Loomis. He has a personal tie to the company having been the college roommate of Fawson’s husband at BYU.
Ticket Chocolate is now housed in a 4000 square foot facility with a commercial kitchen and a team of seven including Rich Allred, head Chocolatier and his wife Kalani, who assists in creating flavors as a Product Development Specialist. “There are a lot of people copying what we are doing now, which is to be expected. We want to keep innovating and continue to differentiate our product in our target market of higher end boutique shops,” states Geertsen. Currently, Ticket Chocolate is in 500 boutiques across the U.S. You may also find them seasonally in Anthropologie, Neiman Marcus and Starbucks.
Photographs courtesy of Ticket Chocolate