Just in time for Halloween, our next Feature Boutique is a real “treat!” Please welcome Annika from Red Thread Confections!
1. Congratulations on being a MomDot Feature Boutique! Please introduce yourself to the MomDot readers!
Hi there, my name is Annika Pfluger, I’m a professional chocolatier and owner of Red Thread Confections. Red Thread Confections is a unique artisan handcrafted chocolate business. I hand paint each chocolate with organic all naturally colored cocoa butter. I trained at Ecole Chocolat based in Vancouver, Canada and studied artisan chocolates and confections at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. I’m also a single adoptive mom to a beautiful little boy who was born in Guatemala.
2. What is the inspiration behind your product?
I got the inspiration for my company from the ancient Chinese Legend of the Red Thread: “At birth, an invisible red thread connects us to everyone in our life who will become important to us. That thread may stretch and shrink over time, but it will never break.” As an adoptive parent, the red thread legend is very close to my heart. I believe that my son was connected to me by the invisible red thread at birth and that he will also be forever connected to his birth family and birth country by that same red thread. Red Thread Confections honors the red thread legend by donating a portion of the proceeds from each sale to orphanages and organizations which help children both here and abroad. Another part of our mission is to create red thread connections with each of our customers – once you try our chocolates, you’ll be forever connected as well!
3. How did you take your product from concept to reality?
After I traveled to Guatemala, I was struck by the great needs of the children who were left behind with no families. As a former professional classically trained cellist, I really wanted to embark on a profession where I could have more time with my son, have the opportunity to be as creative as possible and also to have the option to give back to his orphanage (and to others). Thus the seed for Red Thread Confections was sewn. I began learning as much as possible about chocolates and confections. I enrolled in the programs listed above and I researched business plan information on the web. I also began renovating the production space for my business location and tracking down all the legal requirements for doing business. But the biggest thing that I did was to practice practice practice working with chocolate and developing my recipes. Luckily there was never any shortage of taste testers available!
4. What sets your company apart from your competitors? What is special about your ingredients?
All of my chocolates are lovingly made by hand using no automated equipment. I use fair trade organic chocolate and as many organic and other fair trade ingredients as possible. I use premium fresh ingredients and don’t use any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives in any of my confections. Each piece is hand painted with organically colored all natural cocoa butter.
5. I see that you donate a portion of your proceeds to charity. Can you tell us a little about the ones you have chosen?
Red Thread Confections is currently donating to three organizations – Maine Adoption Placement Service (http://www.mapsadopt.org), Orphan Resources International (http://www.orphanresources.org) and to Half The Sky Foundation (http://halfthesky.org). Maine Adoption Placement Service is the wonderful adoption agency which found my son his forever family. Humanitarian aid has always been a part of their mission and they dedicate a substantial portion of program fees to aid in their efforts in the U.S. and overseas. Orphan Resources International is an organization working directly with orphanages in Guatemala. They supply the physical necessities and volunteers, to help with the care of the orphans, involving work teams to improve the facilities so that the lives of the children can be improved for as long as they stay. The final organization is Half The Sky Foundation, which works with orphanages in China. They provide individual nurture and stimulation for babies, innovative preschools that encourage an early love of learning, personalized learning opportunities for older children, and loving — and most important, permanent — foster homes for children whose special needs will keep them from being adopted.
6. Your chocolates are like little works of art! I am drooling over the Creamy Caramel Turtle! What is the process behind making these little chocolate creatures?
The process for making each of my creations is a multi-step process because of the layering. I work in reverse 1.) polish molds with a cotton cloth to make sure there are no water spots, 2.) make the filling and allow to cool 3.) paint chocolate molds with colors, 4.) fill molds with chocolate and drain to the create outer chocolate shell, 5.) fill shell with filling, 6.) spread on the bottom layer of chocolate to seal the filling inside the shell. In between each step, the chocolate or filling layer needs to crystallize to set up.
7. What is your most popular product?
My best sellers are my Sweet Raspberry Hearts (who doesn’t love dark chocolate with fresh raspberries!) and my Mayan Fire. The Mayan Fire is a confection which is based on the original Mayan chocolate recipe, but with a modern twist. It combines a dulce de leche caramel with dark chocolate and ancho chilis. It’s not too spicy, but just enough to give it a little after kick. Some people are a little hesitant, but once they try it, it’s always their favorite. Also very popular are the animals (Apple Cobbler Owl, Creamy Caramel Turtle and PB Hedgie) because of their unique look and flavor.
Thanks, Annika! I know you are all drooling over the chocolates now, right? Where are the choco-holics on MomDot? LOL! Talk about a totally awesome Christmas present…for yourself. Here’s your chance to sample the creations of Red Thread Confections! Annika has generously donated a gift certificate for one small box of chocolates to one MomDot reader!
Annika would LOVE to hear your feeback on her site and tell her what your favorite chocolates are there (and all of them are not the answer, LOL). Once you do that, you gain an entry~ And momdot will give you a 2nd entry for carrying our banner/link on your homepage.
interviewed by Feature Writer Bridgette