When Stephanie Jackson, 27, and her husband Andy, 26, moved to Middlebury in January, John Melanson of Carol’s Hungry Mind Café gave the couple their first taste of Vermont hospitality. To thank Melanson for introducing them around, the Jacksons brought him homemade chocolates.
“He said, ‘These are really good. Can I sell them?’” Stephanie recalls, and Middlebury Chocolates was born.
The professional cinematographer and his wife are longtime foodies, but this is the first time they’ve sold the fruits of their labor. Now a month old, the company has a sleek website hawking organic truffles in flavors such as Traditional Salted, Cardamom Vanilla and Lemon Chèvre. “We want to develop a lot more [flavors],” Stephanie says. “We really want to start roasting our own cocoa beans.” Once they’ve developed a signature blend, chocolate bars and “other confections” will become a possibility, she adds.
Those who would rather purchase in person have only one option for now — Carol’s Hungry Mind Café. But in March, the couple will open a downtown storefront above the old hydro power company. “It will be a chocolate and coffee lounge,” says Jackson. “It looks right down over the river.”
The concept is modeled on a business in Asheville, N.C., where the pair spent the last 10 years. “It’s one of the things I miss,” Jackson says. “A place to sit down and have chocolate and a really strong cup of coffee.”