Chocolate by Kathy Wiley
Meet the lesbian chocolatier revolutionizing our favorite treat.
Poco Dolce chocolate is, in a word, dangerous. How dangerous?
“I actually joke you can’t bring it on a first date. It’s almost too much,” Poco Dolce owner Kathy Wiley warns when asked if she’s ever seduced a woman with her unique confectionary. “It can be a little dangerous. You’ve got to assess the situation first.”
Wiley is right, this decidedly grownup chocolate is downright seductive. Some of Wiley’s chocolates have a silky texture reminiscent of ganache, all of them live up to the name Poco Dolce (which means “a little sweet” in Italian), but where Poco Dolce really raises the danger levels is with the flavors: Five Spice, Bittersweet with Sea Salt, Double-Shot Espresso, Burnt Caramel (a kitchen accident turned genius), Aztec Chile, Olive Oil Sea Salt—not your run-of-the-mill chocolate flavors, to be sure.
So where does Wiley come up with these flavors? Mostly from her own palate. “It’s pretty much all my gut…I follow exactly what I want to do or what I think works in each line,” she says.
Those lines started nearly a decade ago. Wiley had been thinking seriously about a career in the food industry, but didn’t quite know what she wanted to do. She and her partner at the time had different aspirations, and when they broke up, Wiley made a huge leap. She quit her job as director of IT for a small firm, bought a car and took about six months to think about what her new food business should be.
“I always wanted to have my own business and I always wanted it to be food related, but, that being said, it takes a little bit to really focus, I guess you’d say,” she says.
After some time working as a baker, Wiley finally narrowed her culinary focus down to chocolate—but not just any chocolate. She had a real fondness for salt and wanted to do something a little different—and with that, Poco Dolce was born.
While the ingredients aren’t all organic, Wiley does try to keep them as local as possible. The sea salt comes from Sel Gris, the olive oil is from California (the brand is her closely-held secret!), and the chocolate comes from Guittard Chocolate. Wiley maintains a close relationship with the companies she does business with, ensuring they have fair trade and farming practices.
Wiley hopes to have new Poco Dolce flavors available sometime around the 2011 holiday season, perfect timing for those seeking a less-than-sweet treat that’s outside the box. (pocodolce.com)